Since 2012, the Michigan Wheat Program has been funding high-management wheat plots as part of the Michigan State University Wheat Performance Trials. Results are in for crop years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Wheat farmers will certainly want to review the results, as trends are emerging.
MSU trials. The MSU wheat research team has planted wheat varietal trial plots for over 30 years. In 2020, the high-management trials were harvested at five farms, with other sites suffering water damage. Test sites are located on private farmland in Gratiot, Huron, Lenawee, Montmorency, Sanilac and Tuscola counties in Michigan; plus Wood County Ohio; and a University site in Ingham County.
In 2020, 113 wheat varieties were evaluated including 62 commercial wheat varieties and 51 experimental wheat seed lines, developed by 13 different organizations.
The wheat trials are under a high-management system at eight sites across Michigan. For 2019-2020, one “same farm” trial in Tuscola County was planted to assess conventional v. high-management in the same location.
Varietal trials provide the opportunity to compare data on dozens of varieties on multiple sites, which may have experienced different weather conditions.
Definition of high management. High-management trials included an additional 30 pounds of 28 percent nitrogen per acre; Delaro fungicide was applied at Feekes stage 6; and Prosaro® to control fungal diseases at about the average flowering date in each location.
The emerging results indicate that high-management practices are showing increased yield, increased test weight and slightly reduced grain moisture at harvest. In 2016, results showed that high-management increased yield just over 6 percent.
Farmers should review full data contained in the following reports filed by MSU wheat breeder Dr. Eric Olson and MSU wheat specialist Dennis Pennington.
Note: MSU and the Michigan Wheat Program caution that three years of data should be reviewed to get a more complete picture of research results. Farmers also must weigh their own input costs under high-management against the apparent improved performance to make the most economically-feasible choice for their farm.
The reports below for each year are either for only the commercially-available seed lines, or for both commercial and experimental wheat varieties.