May 1, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

Every spring the University of Kentucky Wheat Science Group holds a field day to highlight research efforts of group members and to review the annual wheat variety trials.

This year's field day will be on Wednesday, May 22, at the Worth and Dee Ellis Farms in Shelby County. The program begins at 9 a.m. ET and concludes at noon. Lunch will be provided by the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association.

For the past four years variety trials have been conducted in at least two locations in the state with a focus on how varieties perform in no-till versus conventional tillage, said Dave Van Sanford, UK wheat breeder. Shelby County has been one of the locations every year because of the Ellis family's commitment to no-till production.

A twist this year is that the plots were planted behind soybeans instead of corn. Mike Ellis said he attained a 10-bushel wheat yield increase last year by switching to beans. He's using an early season bean that matures in time to be harvested and allow for the wheat to be planted. He also likes that the wheat provides a good ground cover for his fields.

Ellis believes two reasons that give the yield boost in planting behind soybeans are the advantage of it over trying to attain a consistent, no holes stand while no-tilling into green corn stubble, and the possible reduction in infection of head scab.

Other traits such as disease incidence throughout the growing season are also evaluated in the trials.

"Our overall goal is to identify varieties that are new and emerging that can add to the profitability of Kentucky's wheat farmers," Van Sanford said.

In addition to the variety trials, no-till production, precision nitrogen application, fumigating stored wheat and canola production and economics are among the topics highlighted at this year's field day. Precision agriculture equipment will be on display.

The field day generally attracts about 100 farmers and crop advisors wanting to learn the latest information available on research efforts by the UK Wheat Science Group. Participants can receive 2.5 hours of Certified Crop Advisor credits.

To get to the field day location take Exit 35 off of I-64. Turn North on to Kentucky 53, go straight through the light at McDonald's. This puts you on Kentucky 55. After passing mile marker 15, turn right on Stoney Point Road and watch for the field day signs.

For more information, contact Dottie Call, Wheat Science Group coordinator, at (270) 365-7541 ext. 234 or e-mail at or Brittany Edelson, Shelby County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources at (502) 633-4593.


Dave Van Sanford, (859) 257-5811