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Kansas wheat farmers reap benefits of seed genetics

Kansas wheat farmers reap benefits of seed genetics

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The top two producers in the dryland winter wheat category of the National Wheat Foundation’s annual Kansas Wheat Yield Contest are happy to give credit where it is due.

Both first-place finisher Tyler Ediger and second-place Andy Lee said it was the WestBred brand seeds that gave them the genetics and the Good Lord Above that gave them everything else they needed for bringing in the sheaves of winning crops.

Ediger was also the only national winner from Kansas. He took honors for greatest percentage yield increase for his variety with a 205.01% increase. He harvested 108.43 bushels per acre using the WestBred WB4792 variety seed.

“WestBred offers the best yield potential for my area,” Ediger said. “We knew if we pushed it hard it would stand up.”

A resident of Meade County, Kansas, Ediger is a sixth-generation farmer and has been working his farm since 2009. His father, Darwin, still farms, as well.

“I learned what I know about farming from him,” he said. “We do high-maintenance farming; meticulous soil samples and fertilizer tracking.”

He has been competing in yield contest for four years. Nothing was done differently this year than in previous years, he said. The possibilities of the WB4792 variety impressed Ediger. He said he had never seen such potential before.

While quick to point out that his percentage yield was based off the county average and not his personal yield, Ediger did say that he believes his long-time no-till practice has played a role in his ever-increasing bushels per acre.

Lee has been in the wheat farming business a little longer than Ediger. They are friendly rivals.

Based out of Cowley County, Kansas, located southeast of Wichita, Lee is a fifth-generation farmer, but has been working on a farm for about 18 years.

“I grew up around farming and livestock,” he said. “My wife’s family is also all multigenerational farmers.”

Lee harvested 105.09 bushels per acre using the WestBred WB4401 variety. It’s a new variety and this was its first year of open availability, he said.

“I saw what this seed could do in its experimental stage,” Lee said. “It’s going to be a leading wheat over the next four years.”

WestBred has been on the cutting edge in the area of seed genetics and use superior technology. Their certified seeds have the best Fusarium head blight (scab) tolerance and are the best for the growing conditions in his area, he said.

“We try to stay on the leading edge of tech and genetics,” Lee said. “WestBred fits our train of thought on where we need to be going.”

Lee also uses the no-till method of farming and stated that it has played a huge part in his yield success. He said that he doesn’t leave ground fallow for very long.

Ediger thanked the Kansas State Extension office for helping with the annual yield trials. Ultimately, though, he said the praise belongs to God. Lee echoed that sentiment stating that farmers couldn’t be successful without Him.

“We plant the seeds and trust the Lord,” Ediger said.

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