K-State Research and Extension News
The Wheat Scoop is a weekly news feature from the Kansas Wheat Commission to inform wheat farmers, the grain industry and the public about the marketing and utilization of Kansas wheat. Scoops cover a wide range of topics, from breeding new wheat varieties to domestic and international utilization, as well as new uses, nutrition, and trends in domestic and international wheat foods and wheat flour consumption.
Wheat Scoops
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Crop conditions around Kansas vary as the weather turns warmer and the delicate growing season for winter wheat is underway. Freeze damage and drought are a major concern for many areas of the state. The crop is battling ranging temperatures and lack of moisture. According to Guorong Zhang, wheat breeder at the K-State Agricultural Research Center at Hays, about one-third of fields do not have a very good stand, with many showing drought stress. He reported that while a few varieties have shown signs of winterkill, it is only a small percentage. Marsha Boswell has more.

Kansas State University’s International Grains Program is offering a pair of courses designed to provide additional training to milling professionals and other end-users of Kansas-grown products. The week-long basic and advanced milling principles courses are designed for different segments of industry professionals, but both courses focus on key milling principles. Marsha Boswell discusses the benefits these courses offer milling professionals and Kansas producers.

Norman Borlaug’s final words “take it to the farmer” reflected his firm belief that farmers could provide abundant food when given the proper tools. The work of Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner and father of the Green Revolution, was celebrated last month at the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Mexico. More than 700 representatives of the wheat research industry from 67 different countries, including Kansas Wheat Commission Chairman Ron Suppes and Aaron Harries, director of marketing for Kansas Wheat, attended the conference. Marsha Boswell has more on the conference and Borlaug’s legacy.

With the 2014 Kansas wheat crop breaking dormancy, achieving top yields is on the minds of wheat farmers. With Mother Nature's help, your best management practices could be just the ticket to earn you a quick $1,000 in cash, if you enter the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest. Nicole Lane has more on how to participate in this year’s contest. 

As the Kansas wheat crop begins to break dormancy, concerns of winterkill are on the minds of producers. Two sub-zero events this winter with little to no snow cover may have frozen some wheat plants to death. In most areas it is still too early to determine damage but when a polar vortex strikes with little to no snow cover, especially combined with poor soil moisture, the risk of damage is high. Nicole Lane reports.

March is National Nutrition Month, an opportunity to spotlight healthy eating and physical activity messages at home, school and work. Many people find it difficult to consume the right amounts of food from each of the food groups. The good news is that children who participate in the school lunch program receive one-third of the USDA recommended daily allowances for lunch. Marsh Boswell has more.

Kansas Wheat is teaming up with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Dillon’s Food Stores to provide 100,000 meals for Kansas families in need, through the Neighbor to Neighbor food drive. The Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive will help support Kansas neighbors in need and reduce hunger in Kansas communities. Marsha Boswell has more.

Giving a home-baked gift is a great way to show someone you care, but it can be even better when you could win a prize for doing so. This March, the Kansas Wheat Commission is teaming up with the Home Baking Association to promote Bake and Take Month. For more than 40 years, Bake and Take Month has been an opportunity to celebrate relationships with friends and family by baking and sharing treats. Nicole Lane has more.

Kansas State University researchers met recently with representatives from the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Kansas Wheat Alliance, and Kansas Crop Improvement Association. The researchers each gave a 10-minute presentation, followed by questions. Kansas wheat producers, through the two-cent per bushel wheat assessment, fund approximately $1 million in research each year. Marsha Boswell has more on the research being funded.

U.S. wheat is the world’s most reliable choice. That’s the message U.S. Wheat Associates takes to foreign markets through its 17 offices all over the world. Shannon Schlecht, vice president of policy, spoke to Kansas Wheat Boards and at the recent Kansas Commodity Classic. He told growers that Kansas is very important to our overseas buyers. Marsha Boswell has more.

After nearly three years of limbo in Congress, a five-year farm bill has been passed. Farmers across the nation now face the burden of learning how the changes will affect their home operations. The legislation is expected to reduce spending by $23 billion over the next decade, with a portion coming from the end of direct payments. This cut allowed lawmakers to expand the federally subsidized crop insurance programs to help farmers better manage risk tied to unexpected weather disasters or fluctuations in commodity prices. Marsha Boswell reports.

Kansas farmers are invited to the Kansas Commodity Classic in Manhattan on February 13th to gain in-depth information on grain markets, a 2014 weather outlook, and projects in some of the state's key commodities. The Commodity Classic is the annual convention of the Kansas Corn, Wheat and Grain Sorghum Associations, and will take place at the Four Points Inn. Marsha Boswell has more.


The Wheat Foods Council continued its battle on fad diets when it met in Phoenix, Arizona. Cindy Falk, nutrition educator for Kansas Wheat and the Wheat Foods Council vice-chair, represented Kansas farmers and their need to combat anti-wheat messages. Nicole Lane has more.

Wheat growers from across the nation gathered at the Kansas State University Grain Science complex last week to learn more about the process wheat undergoes after it leaves the farm. Through a course offered by the International Grains Program, 15 wheat industry leaders learned about flour milling and baking processes.

When looking to make healthier lifestyle changes for your New Year’s resolution, the amount of information on the “perfect” diet can be overwhelming. The popular “Wheat Belly” diet may pop up on your radar, but don’t be fooled by fad diets promising an easy fix or those that encourage the elimination of entire food groups. Nicole Lane has more.

This year has been monumental for Kansas Wheat organizations. The Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers leadership came together to begin industry changing endeavors. Looking back at 2013, it will be remembered as one of the first steps taken in positioning Kansas as a national leader in the wheat industry. Nicole Lane has the Kansas Wheat Year in Review.

The holiday season often means two things: time spent with family and friends and great food. This year, Sharon Davis, Manhattan-based mother of two who works as the family and consumer sciences education consultant for the Home Baking Association, recommends a few great ways to incorporate the two. Davis says baking is a family activity that encourages healthy eating and makes subjects like math seem fun for kids. Davis also thinks baked goods are the perfect gift for the season.


Two Kansas wheat farmers recently traveled to St. Louis to learn how to battle the issues facing the wheat industry today. Shayne Suppes and Jace Gibbs of Scott City participated in the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow program in late November and returned to Kansas with new perspectives. Nicole Lane has more.

New data by Kansas State University agricultural economist Art Barnaby indicates the Congressional Budget Office may have overstated the cost of federal crop insurance. He concludes that price volatility – the amount of uncertainty or rise in the size of the changes of a securities value – drives premium cost more than market price. Nicole Lane has more.

Marketing Kansas-grown wheat to world buyers includes not only a quality and consistent crop, but strong relationships with those who buy it. For these reasons and more, sales of hard red winter wheat to Latin America have increased significantly in marketing year 2013-2014 with year to date sales to Central and South America at 5-point-33 million metric tons.

It may come as a surprise that the participants at the Bühler-KSU Executive Milling Course at the International Grains Program are not millers. But, that’s exactly the point. The course is designed to provide members of milling operations, who may not be millers themselves, a basic understanding of the milling process. Dalton Henry has more.

With the official dedication of the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center on Oct. 11, Kansas State University’s Grain Science Complex added another building, and increased opportunities for customer education, hands-on experience for students and enhanced research capacity. Nicole Lane has more.

The Wheat Genetics Resource Center (WGRC) has officially relocated to the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, marking the beginning of a cornucopia of partnerships that will be working together to progress research in wheat. Following a meeting later this month, projects for the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center will begin. This center will be the first of its kind bringing together private and public research to extract better wheat genetics from the 14,000 strains of wild wheat genetic material in the WGRC. Nicole Lane has more.

Central Kansas wheat farmers will have an opportunity this winter to provide direction for one of Kansas' most important industries, through the 2014 Kansas commodity commission elections. Kansas farmers will be electing commissioners for each of the state’s five commodity commissions: wheat, grain sorghum, corn, soybeans and sunflowers. Dalton Henry has more on the election process.

Western Kansas wheat producers have been in a constant battle with weather the past few years. Although the cry for more rain has always been strong, last month’s rains may be contributing to emergence problems in some producer’s recently planted wheat fields. As a result, it may be necessary for some producers to replant their fields. Dalton Henry has more.

With winter wheat planting underway throughout Kansas, farmers are encouraged to begin planning to participate in the Fifth Annual Kansas Wheat Yield Contest. Nicole Lane has more on the contest rules and how to participate.

A recent report sheds light on the quality that end-users can expect from the 2013 Kansas wheat crop. National Ag Statistics and the Kansas Grain Inspection Service released the annual Wheat Quality report in September. The crop averaged 60.9 pounds per bushel, almost right on the 10-year average, but down slightly from last year's 61.1 pounds. Dalton Henry has more.

Wheat planting conditions across Kansas tell an unusual story. Western Kansas farmers are excited about moisture and many Central Kansas farmers are sitting on the sideline praying for rain. After a long period of drought, producers in the Western region of the state will be planting into some of the best conditions they have seen in a long time. Wheat farmers across the rest of the state are still battling the weather and preparing fields to drill. Nicole Lane has more.

Sometimes a little encouragement from friends can lead to big successes, which is exactly what William Still of Phillipsburg learned after winning the Kansas 4-H Wheat Variety Plot Display at this year's Kansas State Fair. I learned about the variety plot project after a couple of my friends had entered displays at the state fair," says Still, who is a senior at Phillipsburg High School. “They encouraged me to try the project. I found that I really enjoyed it.” The competition requires participants to plant and raise five varieties of wheat; then create an educational display to showcase their wheat production and accomplishments. Dalton Henry has more.

A temporary tariff change by one of the world’s leading wheat importers, further extended just this week, means significant hard red winter (HRW) sales for Kansas wheat farmers. After wheat supply shortages in the Southern Hemisphere caused a shift in trade policy, Brazil has purchased 86.3 million bushels of HRW wheat since February 2013, worth an estimated $700 million. Nicole Lane has more.

As farmers prepare to begin wheat planting across the state, seed size is a vital variable to take into consideration. Seed size traditionally varies with variety and type of seed but this year the range is wider. Producers will have to plant with extra care as the varying seed size and other issues that can impact the average seeds per acre in planting rate calculations. Nicole Lane has more.

Three Kansas wheat farmers each earned $1,000 by winning their respective regions in the 2013 Kansas Wheat Yield Contest. Ron Ohlde, Palmer, won the Central Region with a yield of 93.57 bushels per acre with the Westbred variety Cedar; Leland Johnson, Westmoreland, won the Eastern Region with a 78.7 bushel per acre yield from the Kansas Wheat Alliance variety Everest and Chuck Downey, St. Francis, won the Western Region by getting 70.05 bushels per acre from the Syngenta variety SY Wolf. Nicole Lane has more on this year’s contest.


When technology and agriculture collide, the outcome is often astonishing. At Kansas State University’s Agronomy Field Day, the featured technology; small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, astounded attendees. Kansas Wheat’s Nicole Lane has more on how this technology will help wheat producers.

Wheat planting season is just around the corner and determining what seed to use can be a challenging decision for many farmers. As input costs on farms continue to climb, seed selection can make a difference in profit come harvest time. Nicole Lane has more.

New, prospective wheat varieties were discussed at the Kansas Seed Industry Conference last week as farmers prepare to begin planting. The annual meeting allowed industry leaders to determine the availability of certified seed and discuss the varieties producers anticipate using in the future. During the conference, the Plant Genetic Materials Release Committee for K-State Research and Extension held their annual meeting. The committee determined they would move forward with two wheat varieties developed by K-State wheat breeder, Allan Fritz, and his colleagues. Nicole Lane has more.

The U.S. grain marketing system is unmatched and transparent. Yet it can be complicated. That’s why U.S. Wheat Associates maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to pave the way for U.S. export growth. Recently, representatives from USW’s offices around the world gathered for a world staff conference. This meeting presented an opportunity to share experiences and review the market situation for U.S. wheat. Nicole Lane has a few notes of interest from some of the USW’s offices.

The 2013 wheat harvest is a recent memory, but Kansas wheat farmers are already thinking about the 2014 crop. Yield potential of a wheat variety is a priority for farmers choosing which variety to plant this fall, but resistance to diseases and insect pests is also an important factor.  Erick DeWolf, extension plant pathologist at Kansas State University, says K-State Research and Extension's publication, The Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Ratings can help growers identify the best varieties for their farms. Also, extension crop specialist Jim Shroyer offers tips on planting blended wheat varieties. Bill Spiegel has more.

On July 9th, at Solomon Creek Farms near Colby, the 25th billionth bushel of wheat in the past 100 years of Kansas farming was harvested. Mike Brown, co-owner of Solomon Creek Farms, caught the grain in a bushel basket as his son Tanner unloaded the combine into a grain cart. Over the past 100 years, productivity and determination have allowed Kansas farmers to produce over 25 billion bushels of wheat, which equals more than one trillion commercial loaves of bread. On average Kansas is the largest wheat producing state with nearly one-fifth of all the wheat in the United States grown in Kansas. Nicole Lane reports.

Early U.S. commercial wheat sales in the marketing year 2013/14 are off to a fast start on the heels of strong sales momentum in the second half of 2012/13. As of June 20th, U.S. commercial sales for 2013/14 currently stand at 8.57 million metric tons (MMT) – 28 percent ahead of last year. The wheat marketing year runs from June 1st to May 31st. However, the fast start is not stopping the U.S. Department of Agriculture from projecting total U.S. exports will fall 4 percent from 2012/13 to 26.5 MMT, 7 percent below the five-year average. Bill Spiegel reports.

A Kansas State University researcher is part of a team that has identified a gene that gives wheat plants resistance to UG99, one of the world's most deadly races of wheat stem rust. Eduard Akhunov, associate professor of plant pathology at K-State, and his colleague, Jorge Dubcovsky from the University of California-Davis, led a research project that identified the gene. The discovery may help scientists develop new wheat varieties and strategies that protect the world's food crops against the wheat stem rust pathogen that is spreading from Africa to the breadbaskets of Asia and can cause significant crop losses. Bill Spiegel has more.