Kimberly Cantrell, Texas Wheat Intern
In the spring of 2017, 16 wheat field days were held across the state. Test plots of different wheat varieties were planted and evaluated based on several criteria, including yield, disease and pest resistance and adaptability to diverse growing conditions. Texas Wheat staff members attended eight field days to see the results of the trials first hand and visit with farmers in various regions across Texas.
During the week of May 8, Steelee Fischbacher, Director of Policy and Marketing, represented Texas Wheat at field days in the Rolling Plains and Blacklands. Test plots in this area suffered from low yields based on the dry conditions during the growing season. At the field days in Crowell (Ford County) and Vernon (Wilbarger and Wichita counties), Dr. Emi Kemura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist and assistant professor based in Vernon, introduced the varieties in the test plots and discussed the performance of each variety.
Dr. Russell Sutton, assistant research scientist at Texas A&M Commerce, led field days in Ennis (Ellis County), Munster (Cook County) and Greenville (Hunt County). Damage from wheat rust and Hessian flies was prevalent. There were also many varieties with low vernalization due to the mild winter in that region. In Greenville, a new research farm had recently been purchased by Texas A&M Commerce and producers in the area look forward to advances that may come from that facility.
Darby Sullivan, Texas Wheat Director of Communications and Producer Relations, visited the Groom Field Day (Carson County) on May 11. At the test plots, Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist and assistant professor, and Dr. Ron French, Texas A&M AgriLife Plant Pathology Specialist and assistant professor, discussed the Picks List, a list compiled by Texas A&M Agrilife of wheat varieties best suited for the different regions of Texas under each growing condition, and disease identification and control. Plots in this area showed early signs of stripe rust.
On May 16, Fischbacher, Sullivan and Kimberly Cantrell, the Texas Wheat summer intern, visited Perryton for a joint field day with Ochiltree, Hansford and Lipscomb counties. Dr. Clark Neely, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Small Grains and Oilseed Specialist and assistant professor, gave in-depth descriptions of each variety and their performances. Wheat rust was present in the dryland plots, but irrigated acres looked good.
Texas Wheat Executive Vice President, Rodney Mosier, Fischbacher, Sullivan and Cantrell were present at the field day the Texas A&M AgriLife Reasearch Center in Bushland on May 17. Uncontrolled volunteer wheat provided a chance to evaluate the spread of the wheat curl mite and transfer of the wheat streak mosaic virus. Dr. Jackie Rudd, Texas A&M Regents Fellow and Professor of Agronomy, gave an update on his study of synthetic hexaploid germplasm. Dr. Amir Ibrahim, Texas A&M Professor of Crop and Soil Science, Dr. Shuyu Liu, Texas A&M Assistant Professor of Small Grain Genetics and Genomics, and Dr. Jourdan Bell discussed their research trials, as well the success of the different varieties in the test plots.
Throughout the state, wheat rust, pest damage and environmental stress affected the yield potential for many of the test plots; however, during the field days, producers were able to evaluate different varieties and visit with specialists and other producers in their regions to make informed management decisions for their next wheat crop.