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Blending of Wheat Varieties - II

Jochum Wiersma, Small grains specialist

In a previous article that appeared in Prairie Grains Magazine and the Farm & Ranch Guide blog, I discussed the merits of blending different varieties of spring wheat. The harsh winter and spring have added another dimension to this discussion that demands some attention.

When blending two different hard red spring wheat cultivars, you will be able to market the harvested grain as one of your classes of hard red spring wheat defined by the U.S. Grain Grading Standards.

Many winter wheat stands were damaged as a result of the cold winter or the water and flooding this spring. Consequently, many producers have opted to reseed the damaged portions of winter wheat fields with spring wheat. In many cases this resulted in spring wheat being interseeded with winter wheat.

When interseeding spring wheat into winter wheat, you in effect blend two classes of wheat not simply just two varieties of wheat. The outcome of this blend is quite different than what was described in the first article about blending varieties of spring wheat.

The U.S. Grading Standards define hard red winter and hard red spring wheat as wheat of other classes rather than wheat of contrasting classes. To achieve Grade 1 of either HRSW or HRWW only 3% of wheat of other classes is permissible. Grade 2 allows up to 5% of wheat of other classes. All other grades allow up to 10% of wheat of other classes. Any lot of wheat with more than 10% of either HRSW or HRWW will be graded as mixed wheat.

Experiences in other states have taught us that mixed wheat yields a substantial discount simple as a function of the grading notwithstanding the intrinsic quality attributes - such as grain protein content and bread making characteristics - of the grain. Therefore, it behooves anyone that interseeded HRSW into HRWW to make an estimate of the amount of blending that ultimately is obtained and plan harvest such that the most beneficial mix of grades is achieved.
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  1. I should clarify that the best management practice to salvage damaged winter wheat stands is to plant spring wheat in those areas where the winter wheat stand is too thin. Seeding spring wheat into these areas is by far the easiest way to maintain the planned crop rotation while weed, disease, and insect control are far less difficult to manage. Just be aware of the grain grading standards when inter-seeding spring wheat into the winter wheat and harvest and/or blend the harvested grain in the most profitable way.


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