MANHATTAN, Kan. — Neil Bekemeyer, Washington, proved that careful management practices can produce high yielding, high quality wheat with his winning entry in the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest’s Quality Initiative competition. Bekemeyer’s quality sample came from a 5.79 acre plot of SY Monument and had superior milling and baking qualities while yielding 96.49 bushels per acre. While the yield fell short of taking home the Central Region yield award, Bekemeyer said his operation is focusing on growing a high quality crop that he can market directly to consumers.
“I am so excited to be honored by this contest,” said Bekemeyer. “Quality is what I have been so focused on for the last year and that has been the most important factor for me.”
Bekemeyer said he has set aside a few thousand bushels of wheat for flour milling and selling whole berries directly to consumers. He has partnered with a small “you-pick-it” hydroponic farm in Winter Garden, Florida and will plan on selling his high quality wheat directly to the consumers online, as well.
In order to raise wheat of this quality caliber, Bekemeyer gave credit to good management practices.
“It’s all about keeping nutrition to the plant,” said Bekemeyer. “We ‘spoon feed it’, bringing nitrogen directly to the plant, as well as apply micro-nutrients when needed. Another huge part of our program is finding good genetics. I seek out varieties with favorable baking and milling qualities and build the nutrition on top of that.”
Bekemeyer’s sample, along with the other entrants into the Quality Initiative component of the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest, was graded by the Kansas Grain Inspection Service and analyzed for quality by the ADM Milling Lab in Kansas City.
“The sample’s stability time of more than 17 minutes with good protein levels and overall dough strength ‘raised’ this sample to the top this year,” Justin Gilpin, Kansas Wheat CEO, said. “SY Monument has proven to be a high quality wheat that’s performance is highlighted by this award.”
Bekemeyer’s win was celebrated September 14 at the Kansas State Fair, along with the three regional yield contest winners. This year’s top wheat yields belong to Spencer West of LeRoy, Eastern Region winner; Richard Seck of Hutchinson, Central Region Winner and Alec Horton of Horton Seed Services in Leoti, Western Region Winner.
Now in its eighth year, the Kansas contest includes three regions: Region 1 (Western Kansas), Region 2 (Central Kansas) and Region 3 (Eastern Kansas). Producers achieving the top yield in each region receive a $1,000 cash prize and plaque from Kansas Wheat. Quality Initiative winners receive a $250 cash prize.
“Hosting the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is an exciting part of what we do here,” said Gilpin. “We’re proud to recognize farmers across the state for their dedication to good management practices and celebrate their successes.”