• Research and Development
  • Sep 15, 2021

R7® High Management Research Now Includes Hard Red Winter Wheat

Field of hard red winter wheat.
At WinField® United, we go to great lengths to develop high-yielding wheat products tailored for your acres and the challenges that come with them. Our CROPLAN® hard red winter wheat portfolio is already one of the best in the industry, but after reviewing findings from our R7® high management research in spring wheat, we saw an opportunity to expand research to enhance management recommendations for hard red winter wheat varieties.
 
During 2020-2021, we’re testing 16 varieties at four Answer Plot® locations across the Dakotas. Our research efforts focus on understanding what the plant will do when populations, N applications and fungicides are applied at different rates, regardless of environmental interaction. Varietal performance will obviously change based on what kind of environment they’re placed in, but the response-to scores act independently whether you’re planting in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas.
 
Here's a look at how we set the research up and what we hope to gain in terms of significant predictive data to help drive more effective management decisions.

Response-To Population Protocols

We seeded hard red winter wheat varieties at two different seeding rates in our test plots:
  • High population trials: 1.4 million seeds/A.
  • Low population trials: 700,000 seeds/A. 
Universities tend not to research population rates, so when we look at winter wheat populations, we do so under the impression that many growers are likely seeding all varieties at the same populations. The problem is that some varieties won’t increase in yield when populations are increased. Whether they tiller less or develop fewer spikelets per head, we expect to identify these varieties so you can reduce seeding rates and improve profitability.
 
At the same time, if we can determine which winter wheat products do not sacrifice head size, number of kernels per plant, or yield contributing tillers when populations are increased, then we can help you optimize yield potential by recommending you plant them at higher seeding rates.
 
We’re also looking to analyze the effect population has on protein content. As we’ve discovered in spring wheat, increasing populations doesn’t always increase total protein/A. In fact, it often decreases. This is obviously important depending on what your production goals are, and my gut tells me we’ll see similar differences among hard red winter wheat varieties once all the yield data has been processed.

Response-To Nitrogen Protocols

Nitrogen plays an important role in determining protein levels, and we know we also see yield responses based on the amount applied. To help us better understand the differences, we supplied each variety of hard red winter wheat with two different rates:
  • High rate: 140 lbs./A including an in-season application.
  • Low rate: 70 lbs./A applied up front. 
The data we receive from this study should help us determine the effects N has on each variety of CROPLAN® hard red winter wheat. We anticipate the high N rate will give us a yield bump on some products, while others will see an increase in protein. Others may not experience an economic return at all. These are usually the scrappier, more rugged plants i.e., the ones that perform best in your toughest acres. The high RTN products, on the other hand, are the ones that typically have more success on your moderate to high-performing acres.

Response-To Fungicide Protocols

When we first started looking at how wheat varieties respond to fungicides, we focused on whether or not a fungicide applied at flag leaf generated a yield response. While most farmers already include a fungicide in their tank mix when applying herbicides, the theory was that this additional fungicide application could help optimize yield potential by protecting the top leaf below the head, which drives photosynthesis.
 
Of course, the challenge of applying a fungicide at flag leaf is that it requires a separate, timely pass that usually falls at an inconvenient time, when producers are occupied with other responsibilities around the farm. So, this year we instead decided to look at the effects two different fungicides have on hard red winter wheat when included in the herbicide tank mix that’s applied around V4-V5:
• Premium treatment: WinField® United Protegam® YLD fungicide at 2 oz./A + MasterLock® adjuvant at 6.4 oz./A.
• Standard treatment: WinField United Topaz® fungicide at 4 oz./A + MasterLock adjuvant at 6.4 oz./A
 
The objective of this research is to determine if any winter wheat varieties experience enough of a response from a fungicide with multiple modes of action to justify including it in a herbicide tank mix instead of a single-mode product. Since the strobilurin component of Protegam YLD has been known to help reduce oxidative stresses and ethylene production in plants – while also increasing internal plant efficiencies – we want to identify whether applying it at tillering helps optimize the yield potential of specific varieties.
 
We anticipate we’ll see mixed results. Some wheat products might not respond favorably, but others may provide a positive return on the extra investment.

Putting It All Together

As we’re reminded time and time again, we rarely get a blanket “yes” or “no” when assessing whether crop management practices provide a positive ROI. Since you have a limited amount of dollars to spend on crop inputs, we’ve designed our R7® high management research to identify which CROPLAN seed varieties best respond to specific positioning and management practices.
 
We’re looking forward to sorting through all the yield data from these trials and sharing the results so you can decide where to put that investment in your future winter wheat crop. For more information on CROPLAN research and red winter wheat varieties, talk with your local Winfield United retailer.
 
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, MasterLock®, Protegam®, R7®, Topaz® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.



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