Farm and Ranch March 9, 2009 Phil Needham shows a frontal picture of a combine in an English wheat field and asks his audience to guess the yield. The guesses are far below the mark because the yield is over 200 bushels an acre in a 20-24 inch rainfall zone. What consultant Needham talks about is intensive management as is practiced in Europe, which he is working to help U.S. growers implement. Needham has been to the Pacific Northwest and has some suggestions for farmers in the Palouse to help improve wheat yields.
Needham: â€œSome of the opportunities those guys have come in the form of of uniformity. When I say uniformity, I want to go out in a field and count the same number of heads per yard of row at harvest time. Depending on the rainfall in the specific area it is going to be adjusted, but letâ€˜s say for example a producer is on 7 Â½ inch rows I am going to want approximately 5-600 heads per square yard. So multiply it back out, which would put you approximately about 150 heads per yard of row. So I am going to look for 150 heads per yard of row consistently where ever I go in that field, or as consistently as possible. A lot of producers, certainly in the Palouse region, are challenged with regards to uniformity. Some guys have 200 heads per square yard average in one region, 6, 800, a thousand in another. So I am going to say concentrate more on uniformity.â€?
Needham says that may mean improved seeding depth and in many cases better residue management.
Iâ€™m Bob Hoff and thatâ€™s the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report on the Northwest Ag Information Network.