Winners announced for 2014 Kansas wheat yield contest

Posted August 7, 2014

Wheat yields have been a heated topic of discussion at coffee shops across Kansas for years. But five years ago Kansas Wheat decided to up the ante and see who really had the best yields in the state. This year, Kansas Wheat is proud to announce the winners of the 5th Annual Wheat Yield Contest. This year’s top wheat yields belong to Butch Harris of Soldier and Levi Felbush, Eastern Region winners; Doug Keas of Plainville, Central Region winner and Chuck Downey of St. Francis, Western Region winner. 

Butch Harris and Levi Felbush are this year’s Eastern Region winners. It was Felbush’s idea to enter the contest, and he asked if Harris, his father-in-law, would want to join him. Harris then planted and harvested WB-Cedar on a 5.75 acre plot for the contest and consulted with Felbush on maintenance. Felbush then handled the paper trail involved with the contest process. The duo’s prize winning yield was 60.43 bushels per acre at 12% moisture. 

Felbush said, “I really wanted to enter because I really enjoy seeing how far we can push those yields and I think the sky is the limit. I love the hard work that farming brings and the challenge of trying to top out those yields.”

Doug Keas of Plainville is this year’s Central Region winner. Keas planted SY Wolf on a 10.32 acre plot in Rooks County. His winning yield was 78.39 bushels an acre. Keas said that he always knew he wanted to farm. While other kids wanted to be firefighters and police officers, Keas dreamed of being a farmer. 

Keas said of the contest, “I’ve been so competitive all of my life and I love to enter any contest. My agronomist told me that I should enter this one, so I just had to give it a shot.”

From the Western Region, Chuck Downey of St. Francis is this year’s winner. Downey planted WB-Grainfield on 9.12 acres. His prize winning yield was 88.56 bushels an acre. 

Downey said, “Things like this really help you maximize your yields across the board. You’re able to experiment with your contest plot. When something works for your contest plot, it might work for all of your crop, so you have the potential to maximize your profits with new knowledge every year.”

The 2014 Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is sponsored by BASF, Bayer Crop Science, WestBred, Kansas Wheat Alliance, Limagrain, Plains Gold, AgriPro and Kansas Wheat. Winners of the contest receive a $1,000 prize that will be awarded on September 11 by Governor Sam Brownback at the Kansas State Fair. The contest also has the optional Quality Initiative. Participants collect a sample of their wheat which will then be graded and analyzed for various quality components. The sample with the highest overall quality, mill and bake scores will receive $250. This winner will be announced by Governor Brownback at the State Fair. 

Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat said, “Hosting the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is an exciting time of year for us. Especially in a challenging year like this, it’s good to have some success stories.”

Agronomic Information

Eastern Region- Butch Harris and Levi Felbush:
Date Planted: 10/05/2013
Variety Planted: WB-Cedar
Planting Rate: 70 pounds per acre
Soil Fertility Info: Pre-plant- 80 pounds N, 40 pounds Ph, 20 pounds K; dry
                             Topdress- 60 pounds N, 10 pounds S; liquid
Herbicide Info: Finesse and MCPA at greenup
Fungicide Info: Priaxor at jointing

Central Region- Doug Keas:
Date Planted: 10/09/2013
Variety Planted: SY-Wolf
Planting Rate: 75 pounds per acre
Soil Fertility Info: Nitrogen 100 pounds, post plant; dry
Fungicide Info: Twinline at flag leaf

Western Region- Chuck Downey:
Date Planted:10/07/2013
Variety Planted: WB-Grainfield
Planting Rate: 59 pounds per acre, 1.02 million seeds per acre
Soil Fertility Info: 45 pounds an acre of 11-52-0; planting
                              18 gallons an acre of 28-0-0-5; Feekes 2
                              Trafix Zinc- Helena; Feekes 2
                              Nucleus- Helena; Feekes 2