wheat field

University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program based in North Platte is once again expanding with a new competition, this time featuring winter wheat.

Similar to the other four TAPS competitions, three cash awards will be given for most profitable, highest input use efficiency and greatest grain yield. A total 20 teams will compete, not only against each other but against university faculty as well.

Each team will be assigned a farm, which is comprised of a set of five randomized plots managed by personnel from the High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney, Nebraska.

Participants will make several farm management decisions as they would on a real Nebraska Panhandle wheat farm. These decisions include crop insurance, variety, seeding rate, nutrient management, fungicide treatment options and grain marketing. All other management decisions will be fixed by the university to be the same for all farms.

The decisions will be submitted through the official website (www.taps.unl.edu), where in-season plot photos, crop updates and other data and resources will be also provided to the contestants.

Each competitor will have an opportunity to use innovative technology, test new methods, become more aware of what drives profit on their farm, as well as share the wealth of their own knowledge.

The High Plains Ag Lab will host in-season field tours and meetings before the contest concludes in August 2020 with an awards banquet.

Cody Creech, UNL dryland cropping systems specialist, is one of the innovators of the new competition and says he is most looking forward to “the peer-to-peer learning that will occur as participants and outside observers discuss the choices and strategies teams used in the competition”.

This new competition is made possible by the support and partial funding from the Nebraska Wheat Board.

The TAPS program was started in North Platte three years ago as a unique and innovative farm management competition focused on irrigated corn. In the past three years, and due to the strong support from partners and sponsors the program has grown to include four contests. Those contests include pivot irrigated corn, subsurface drip irrigated corn and pivot irrigated sorghum housed at West Central Research and Extension Center, and an irrigated corn competition in Guymon, Oklahoma in partnership with Oklahoma State University.

For more information about the winter wheat competition or sponsoring the contest, contact program coordinator Krystle Rhoades at krystle.rhoades@unl.edu

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