Winter wheat variety plot tours

Farm Forum

Winter wheat faced significant challenges this year, and the SDSU Crop Performance Testing (CPT) plots were certainly not spared. Some of the locations have already been destroyed in hopes of raising other crops, while others remain intact with hopes of gathering viable yield data.

Besides providing yield, test weight and other valuable information, Winter Wheat CPT plots also provide an opportunity for producers to learn about new, up and coming varieties. Between plots being abandoned and positions open at SDSU Extension, crop tours will be scaled back a little this year, but Winter Wheat Variety Plot Tours are planned near Ideal, SD on July 1 and Martin, SD on July 2 in south-central South Dakota.

The tour near Ideal, SD will be held at the Jorgensen Farm, beginning at 5:30 p.m., CDT. From Winner, SD, go 8.5 miles north on N County Road, 2.5 miles west, 4 miles north and 0.5 miles west. You can also go 1 mile east, 1 mile north and 0.5 miles west of the Ideal, SD Post Office. Speakers will be Steve Kalsbeck, Sr. Research Associate with the SDSU Winter Wheat Breeding program, and Bob Fanning, Plant Pathology Field Specialist. A meal will be served following the tour, sponsored by Winner Seed, Simplot Soil Builders and Country Pride Coop.

The Winter Wheat Variety Plot Tour at Martin will begin at 5 p.m., MDT and is located 5 miles east of the stop light in Martin, on the south side of SD Hwy 18-73. Farm Credit Services of Rapid City will be providing refreshments.

Visit for information on other crop tours across South Dakota.

Some winter wheat did not vernalize

Earlier this spring, many winter wheat producers, agronomists and crop insurance adjusters were deliberating if winter wheat stands were adequate, what yield they might produce, and if the crop vernalized. As discussed in past articles, winter wheat must vernalize in order to enter the reproductive stage, i.e. elongate and produce a seed head.

Again, in order for the vernalization process to occur, the wheat kernel must at least begin the germination process (at a minimum absorb moisture and swell), then go through a period of time at a temperature below 48 degrees F. This period of time can vary from as little as a few days for some of the early, “winter tender” varieties; to as long as 3 weeks for the later, winter hardy varieties. The maximum temperature may also vary slightly, depending on the earliness/winter hardiness of the variety. This process usually occurs in the fall, before winter sets in, if adequate soil moisture is present to germinate the seed. Vernalization can also occur during the winter if warm spells begin the germination process, or early in the spring.

It is virtually unheard of for fall planted winter wheat not to vernalize in South Dakota. The winter wheat year of 2012-13 will certainly go down in the record books in confirmation that this anomaly can occur. As of June 19, there were reports of winter wheat not yet jointing, indicating that the plants did not vernalize, and in some fields, the majority did not. There is no way to determine for sure a winter wheat plant vernalized until it elongates or fails to do so.