Wheat School: Harvesting 152.8 bu/ac with YEN grower Kevin Van Netten

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Attention to detail and some help from Mother Nature earned Simcoe, Ont., grower first place in the 2021 Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) overall yield category.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Wheat School, Van Netten speaks with agronomist Peter Johnson and shares how he grew 152.8 bu/ac to earn the Gold award in the pilot year for the Great Lakes YEN.

Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Michigan Wheat Program, Michigan State University, and the University of Guelph, launched the YEN project to help farmers and the industry build insights and knowledge about practices and other factors impacting yield.

In its inaugural year, the program focused solely on winter wheat, working with 40 farmers from Ontario and Michigan, to determine the difference in actual and potential yields.

In the video below, Van Netten, a consulting agronomist with South Coast Agronomy, shares how a late-planted crop (Oct. 10) was propelled by a high seeding rate (1.72 million seeds/ac) to produce a nice stand heading into winter. An early spring saw Van Netten under-seeding the crop to red clover on Mar. 6 and applying a first shot of nitrogen on Mar. 18.

A strong fertility program and three fungicides, as well as bio-stimulants, contributed to big biomass accumulation and healthy plants that remained green through grain fill and into harvest. In the video, Johnson marvels at photos of flag leafs that measure up to 12 inches in length and reach widths of 3/4 inch. He’s also amazed at the five-inch wheat heads and a head count that checks in at 1,122 heads per square metre.

Click here for more Wheat School videos.

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