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Winter Wheat Acres Grow in Dakotas and Montana

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South Dakota farmers responded to some unique opportunities this past fall to increase winter wheat acres in the state. In January, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that winter wheat acreage in South Dakota was up 22 percent. Farmers in North Dakota and Montana also increased their winter wheat acreage by 3 percent and 7 percent, respectively. 

"Growers were most likely influenced by the very good winter wheat yields they experienced in 2010, as well as several other factors that were favorable for planting winter wheat," said DU agronomist Blake Vander Vorst. "Another reason was the wet spring. When some of the fields dried out, the timing was right for planting winter wheat, although wet conditions in early September lowered the potential for a 2011 acreage increase."

Producers were also encouraged to plant more acres by higher prices for winter wheat, along with many other benefits. DU winter wheat variety trials treated with Stratego and Prosaro fungicide set record yields. Trial average yields for the fungicide-treated winter wheat varieties ranged from a low of 67 bushels per acre at Huron, South Dakota, to a high of 121 bushels per acre at Roseglen, North Dakota.

According to NASS data from 1999 to 2009, winter wheat in North Dakota had a 17 percent yield advantage over spring wheat during that 11-year period. Growers who work with DU commonly enjoy a 20 to 30 percent yield increase over spring wheat and up to a 50 percent yield increase in years that are drier and warmer than normal.

DU is collaborating with Bayer CropScience on Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action, a comprehensive effort to promote winter wheat in the Prairie Pothole Region. This initiative seeks to expand the use of winter wheat as a cropping option for producers and nesting habitat for waterfowl. It also provides a stewardship model for improving the agricultural productivity of farmland while retaining and improving the habitat values important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife. For more information on this partnership, visit wintercereals.us.
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