Home / Crops / Wheat / Wheat Production / Variable wheat harvest shows need for new crop technology, farmer says

Variable wheat harvest shows need for new crop technology, farmer says

Agriculture.com Staff 07/02/2007 @ 1:12pm

As wheat harvest moves north, leaving behind damaged or underdeveloped acres in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, this year's variable results show the need for new developments in wheat biotechnology.

So says Brookville, Kansas, wheat farmer Joe Kejr. The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers president says he watched his once-promising crop fall victim to some of Mother Nature's worst in the weeks leading up to this summer's harvest.

"First, we saw an April freeze that made some of the fields smell like silage. At some farmer meetings, we heard that if we had cool and dry weather, we still had a chance for a good crop. That is what happened in 1997, and we all hoped it could happen again," Kejr says.

"Then came the May rains that dropped more than 15 inches of rain for the month, and soon rust we had hoped to avoid came with it. Later, we saw why armyworms got their name. They came in like an army and finished off the flag leaves that the rust hadn't destroyed. So, if the rust didn't do enough damage, the worms sure took the final toll," he adds.

Kejr's story is not just one to garner sympathy from farmers whose crop did survive the growing season in good shape, or to identify with others whose wheat came up short. He's calling for more efforts in the industry to move along biotechnology that could protect growers in the future from the damage his crop sustained this year.

"Partnering with the larger industry to address these problems with technological tools needs to happen now. We must develop drought tolerant and rust resistant wheat varieties, and wheats that use nutrients more efficiently. If we start now, it will still take 10 years to get a trait developed with the help of biotechnology," Kejr says.

"It is urgent that we, as the U.S. wheat industry, lead with vision for the future and have unequivocal support for biotech wheat. It is not an option. Time is running out for future generations of wheat producers."

As wheat harvest moves north, leaving behind damaged or underdeveloped acres in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, this year's variable results show the need for new developments in wheat biotechnology.

CancelPost Comment
MORE FROM AGRICULTURE.COM STAFF more +

Farm and ranch risk management resources By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Government resources USDA Risk Management Agency Download free insurance program and…

Major types of crop insurance policies By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Crop insurance for major field crops comes in two types: yield-based coverage that pays an…

Marketing 101 - Are options the right tool… By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am "If you are looking for a low risk way to protect yourself against prices moving either higher or…

MEDIA CENTERmore +
This container should display a .swf file. If not, you may need to upgrade your Flash player.
Holiday Profit Taking Pressures Markets