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David Sparks Ph.d National Wheat Yield
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: January 26, 2018

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Madison County farmer Terry Wilcox, of Keith Wilcox and Sons, a potato producer and shipper, took second in the 2017 National Wheat Foundation’s National Wheat Yield Contest. The contest awards the overall high-yield winner in two categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. Wilcox is credited with producing 143.91 bushels per acre of irrigated spring wheat in a very difficult year because of late winter storms.

“We did better last year,” Wilcox said. “We got 179.78 bushels per acre in 2016 and this year we were down 35 bushels per acre and still finished in the same spot.”

Buhl wheat grower and Idaho Farm Bureau member Rick Pearson also placed in the national event.

The contest is based on the percentage a farmer can produce above the county average.

“The national winner had fewer bushels per acre. He had just 129 bushels per acre, but their percentage was above their county average.”

Wilcox's prize field is on the Rexburg bench, southeast of Rexburg and used the WestBred seed for the past eight or nine years. He adds that Spring wheat works better than fall wheat for Wilcox due to erosion in the spring on the bench. “Flat fields do better for fall wheat,” he said.

He says WestBred works best on the bench and in harsh spring conditions.

“We go with what we think will work for us,” according to Wilcox.

He says he pays close attention to annual soil testing.

“We put down sulfur, potash, nitrogen and whatever else we need,” Wilcox said. “We have a high soil pH of about 7 to 8 so the sulfur helps loosen things up and releases the micronutrients we need. We put on fertilizer with the seed and run some nitrogen with water.”

He says wheat is a vital part of their rotation.“The first year after spuds, we raise wheat and the second year it’s either wheat or barley,” he said.

Other Idaho winners were Doug Stout of Genesee and Brad Parks of Jefferson County with Mud Lake Farms and Wilcox’s nephew Dallin Wilcox with 142.14 bushels per acre.

To enter, you must be a member in good standing of a recognized state wheat grower association, pay an entry fee of $100 and provide proof of production. A total of 287 growers from 28 states competed.

Winners and a guest receive a trip to the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 27 to March 1. Sponsors for the 2017 National Yield Contest are BASF, Croplan/Winfield, Indigo Ag, John Deere, McGregor, Monsanto, and Syngenta.

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