Impressive and very consistent yields were recorded in Wisconsin's winter wheat trial plots in Dane, Fond du Lac, and Calumet counties this year. The plot near Janesville in Rock County was abandoned because of severe winterkill.
The 76 commercial varieties from 14 suppliers and six public varieties entered in the 2014 trial plots posted an average yield of 103 bushels per acre in the plot on Kolbe Seeds Farms near Chilton in Calumet County and 98 bushels both in the plot on Ed Montsma farm near Lamartine in neighboring Fond du Lac County and the one on the University of Wisconsin Extension Service's Arlington Research Farm in Dane County.
Forty-four of the varieties in this year's trial posted average yields of least 100 bushels per acre across the three sites. It took an average yield of 103 bushels to earn a star, meaning that the yield was not significantly different from the top-yielding variety.
With a 109 bushel per acre equivalent, including 114 bushels at Chilton, PIP's 735 posted the top average yield. The Wisconsin-based company had 21 varieties in this year's plots — all but seven of which had yield averages of at least 100 bushels per acre.
Among its four entries for 2014, DuPont Pioneer's 25R46 continued to yield very well with its 108-bushel average, including 111 bushels at Arlington, along with having some of the highest test weights. PIP's 741 yielded 111 bushels both at Arlington and Chilton but its yield of 97 bushels at Lamartine dropped its average to 106 bushels.
Other average yields of 106 bushels were turned in by Legacy's LXW 1480 and PIP's 737 and 738. The three 105-bushel averages belonged to Syngenta's SY 483, Legacy's LXW 1484, and PIP's 736.
Among the test weights, the top numbers were 62.3 pounds per bushel for Legacy's LXW 1480 at Arlington, 61.2 pounds for Kratz Farms KF 15241 at Chilton, and 60.8 pounds of FS Seed's FS 622 at Lamartine, which was a new site, replacing the one at Lancaster in southwest Wisconsin.
Other companies with entries in this year's trials were AgriMaxx, Diener, Dyna-Gro, Equity Seed, Jung, L-Brand, Pro Seed Genetics, and Van Treeck. Among the six public varieties in the 2014 trial plots, Kaskaskia (bred in Illinois) had the top average yield of 100 bushels per acre. The other five came in at between 94 and 99 bushels.
Despite the presence of one or more diseases on several varieties in some of the plots and a concern about about fusarium blight (head scab) due to weather conditions at the time of flowering at both Chilton and Lamartine, the plot yields were some of the highest ever recorded.
The 2013 yield average at the four plots was 82 bushels per acre. The lowest yields at any site this year was 85 bushels for one variety and 88 bushels for two others.
For Wisconsin's winter wheat harvest this year, the latest prediction from the National Agricultural Statistics Service was an average yield of 67 bushels per acre – up by 9 bushels from 2013. That report anticipated the harvest of 260,000 acres of winter wheat in Wisconsin this summer.