Kansas Wheat and K-State Research and Extension have begun a new program to disseminate to Kansas wheat farmers the latest research recommendations for producing high-yielding and high-quality wheat.
The program, called Wheat Rx, is a series of Extension publications and other educational outreach materials designed to address key management areas of hard winter wheat. These publications contain recent data based on novel research funded in part by wheat farmers through the Kansas Wheat Commission’s two-cent wheat assessment.
“Kansas Wheat Rx is a combination of suggested management practices for economical and sustainable production of high-quality and high-yielding wheat in Kansas,” says Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for Kansas Wheat. “Over the past five years, the Kansas Wheat Commission has made it a priority to focus research investments on elevating the overall quality of the Kansas wheat crop. While the extreme weather in Kansas certainly has a major effect on the quality of each wheat crop, there are certain practices and tools that farmers can use to improve quality.”
Grain Craft, the largest independent flour miller in the United States and a founding partner of Wheat RX, says the new program will benefit end users.
“The Kansas Wheat Rx program is in direct alignment with our ongoing focus on upstream innovation,” says Reuben McLean, senior director of quality and regulatory for Grain Craft. “We are excited for our growers to have easy access to this leading research and best practice recommendations for producing a successful crop.”
Romulo Lollato, a wheat and forages production specialist with K-State Research and Extension, is coordinating the program through K-State. Lollato has been the lead researcher on several projects that have focused on intensive management practices for wheat. Grain Craft has specifically helped fund the soil optimization research that Lollato is leading, as well as performed key baking quality assessments, to uncover the relationship of nitrogen and sulfur application to yield and baking quality.
“In the last five years, we have learned a lot about the yield potential of wheat in Kansas as well as how to manage the crop to reach its economical optimum,” Lollato says. “In several projects, we also evaluated how management and variety selection impact the end use properties of wheat. In this series of Extension materials, we will compile results from the latest research, both on small plots and at the commercial field level, to educate our growers on how to maximize their profitability through management of yield and quality of their wheat crop.”
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Grain Craft also invests in and supports other on-going soil health initiatives with the Kansas Wheat Research Foundation. Grain Craft works with the foundation to test how specific varieties contribute to a more consistent and higher quality flour for end users. Much of this research has contributed to the development of the Wheat Rx recommendations.
“Wheat varieties with preferred quality genetic potential, certified seed, advanced agronomics and soil health are all components of a prescription to raise the highest-quality winter wheat in the world,” Harries says. “The global marketplace for wheat has become much more competitive in the last decade. Kansas farmers must continue their track record of innovation and technology adoption to lead the world as the Wheat State.”
The first in the series of Wheat Rx publications, “Wheat Variety Selection,” can be found on the Kansas Wheat website at www.kswheat.com/wheatrx. Each publication will be two to four pages in length and will focus on a specific wheat production topic. More publications in the series will be released by K-State on an on-going basis, including updates to existing publications as new research data becomes available. Accompanying videos also will be produced for several of the topics.