Bob Dole wheat variety proves winner on prairie

Mary Clarkin
The Hutchinson News, Kan.

Bob Dole is outstanding in the field.

A new hard red winter wheat variety announced in early 2018 as being named for the former U.S. Senate majority leader from Kansas and 1996 presidential candidate performed well in this year’s harvest.

“It is the No. 1 wheat in the state yield trials in Kansas and Oklahoma, both,” said Tom Clayman, an owner of Kauffman Seeds Inc., Hutchinson.

“It was No. 1 in Reno County,” he said, and consistently in the top five in other locations.

“It’s having a phenomenal year,” Clayman said.

“We’ve had a lot of dryland production here,” Clayman said, and fields were producing 90 bushels per acre or more. “It’s a little taller, but it’s extremely good yielding.”

“It’s just like the senator, it’s really, really good,” Clayman said on July 17.

“I am pleased to know that ‘my’ wheat is doing so well this harvest. Of course, I’ve got it easy — my name is on the wheat but the farmers are doing the real work,” Dole said in a response on July 17.

The wheat variety for the Central Plains was developed by Kansas State University and the name was announced by Syngenta and the Kansas Wheat Commission last year. It is an AgriPro brand wheat variety.

Dole said when the name was revealed that he was honored to be the namesake of a wheat variety that will be grown in the county’s heartland. “Wheat feeds people across the country and throughout the world, so I am particularly humbled that my name is attached to such a fundamental source of global nutrition,” Dole said at the time.

“This is our first year that we grew it,” said Loyal Miller, seed foreman for Miller Seeds Farms, Partridge. For as late as it was planted, he said, referring to weather-delayed planting in 2018, it “did quite well.” Miller said it wasn’t the top variety, but “it was definitely good.”

“It was one of the nicest-looking wheat that we brought in on our farm,” Miller said.

Wheat harvest is mostly completed in Kansas, but cutting continues in the northern part of the state.

The July 16 Kansas Wheat Harvest Report, a daily harvest update from the Kansas Wheat Commission, the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, and the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, mentioned Norton-area farmer Chris Tanner, who was in the middle of a harvest cycle that was beset by challenges.

“Weather made it difficult to get wheat drilled, and a lot of guys got it in late,” Tanner was quoted as saying. “Spring moisture made it hard to get fertilizer on. Everything has been a fight for us — calving, spraying, planting and overly saturated soils.”

Tanner planted some Bob Dole wheat, and the harvest report said it is “performing very well” for him.