Higher-yielding wheat is AgriPro research goal

Higher-yielding wheat is the goal of a commitment to robust research at Syngenta AgriPro Wheat, Matt Keating, Syngenta account lead for cereals, told seed dealers attending the annual Cereal Kickoff in Salina on March 13.

Keating reminded growers of the top agronomic practices recommended by Syngenta for the production of wheat seed.

Those include planting only certified seed; plant seeds per acre, not pounds per acre; calibrate and set drills to ensure the best possible seed-to-soil contact; run soil tests and fertilize as needed; use starter fertilizer for optimum early plant health; control weeds early to avoid moisture and nutrient loss; apply foliar fungicide with topdressing; and scout and apply fungicide as needed at boot and heading.

Key Points

• Agronomic practices are key in better wheat yields.

• Leaf rust has already been spotted in south-central Texas.

• Every year is different for adaptation maps and disease pressure.


Central Plains wheat breeder Jon Rich, based at Junction City, said AgriPro’s research division is growing. AgriPro has 13 employees in Junction City, and it wants to hire four more workers, he said.

He warned that leaf rust has already been spotted in south-central Texas.

“The reality is, however, that the spores are already in the wind,” he said. “Growers need to be scouting consistently through the season, and getting down an application of fungicide if needed.”

Rich said the March 6 U.S. Drought Monitor still shows a pocket of stubborn extreme to exceptional drought in southwest Kansas, with abnormally dry conditions to moderate drought covering the state south of I-70.

He said AgriPro has 23 testing locations for its varieties this season: five irrigated, nine no-till and nine conventional-till plots.

Rich said the adaptation maps for different varieties are based on performance in test plots, as well as on agronomic factors that are at play in different regions of the state.

There is good news for finding disease pressure in western Kansas, where wheat streak mosaic and leaf rust are the major problems: If you find disease, it means there has been moisture, and moisture means there is good yield potential.

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BEST PRACTICES: Syngenta account lead Matt Keating talks to Kansas and Nebraska seed dealers about farming practices that can improve wheat yields.

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A LITTLE DISTRACTION: There’s only so much science a growing mind can absorb. Patricia Oborny (right) found a little space on the hallway floor, and some toys from home provided a nice play break distraction for her youngsters, Wyatt (left), 3, Audra, 4, and baby Cordell, 1. The Obornys farm near Bison.

This article published in the April, 2012 edition of KANSAS FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.