By Jordan Hildebrand
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Wheat yields have been a heated topic of discussion at coffee shops across Kansas for years. But six years ago Kansas Wheat decided to up the ante and see who really had the best yields in the state. Farmers from all over the state, like Doug Keas of Plainville, enter the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest for bragging rights and a potential for up to $1,750 in prize money.
Keas was last year’s Central Region winner, as well as the quality initiative winner. Keas planted SY Wolf on a 10.32 acre plot in Rooks County. His winning yield was 78.39 bushels an acre. His wheat sample was also graded as the overall best quality wheat submitted through the contest. This result was determined by the overall quality and mill and bake scores. Keas said that he always knew he wanted to farm. While other kids wanted to be firefighters and police officers, Keas dreamed of being a farmer.
“Winning it last year was great,” said Keas. “Even though I was disappointed in our yields last year, we produced even though we didn’t have a lot going for us.”
For the third party verifier required of the contest, Keas used a familiar face with a local banker. Other examples of verifiers that participants can use include vocational agriculture teachers, county extension agents, Farm Credit Services officers, private crop consultants, crop insurance agents and College of Agriculture instructors.
Keas said of the contest, “I’ve been so competitive all of my life and I love to enter any contest. My agronomist told me that I should enter this one, so I just had to give it a shot.”
No matter the inputs a producer puts onto his crop, a harvest can look bleak without rain.
“If it rains, we’ll raise some wheat,” said Keas. “But if it doesn’t, we just won’t have much of anything.”
The 2015 Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is sponsored by BASF, WestBred, Kansas Wheat Alliance, Limagrain, Plains Gold, AgriPro and Kansas Wheat. Winners from all three regions win $1,000 and if the regional winners use a variety from a sponsor of the contest, they will receive an additional $500. The samples from the optional quality initiative will be evaluated for quality components such as test weight, protein content, variety and kernel quality. Top scoring samples will undergo further testing at ADM Milling’s Quality Laboratory in Kansas City. The sample with the top quality score will receive $250 in cash.
The application deadline for the 2015 Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is June 1, 2015. A Management Form, Harvest Rules, and a Harvest Report Form will be mailed to the contestant prior to harvest. These forms, along with the quality initiative sample, must be postmarked by July 10, 2015. For more information on the contest, please visit www.kansaswheat.org/