Farmers to hear Michigan wheat production updates at MSU research center

Michigan's Winter Wheat Field Day will feature something for every wheat farmer in the state who has ever had a pest, weed, disease, rotation, nutrient, combine or production-related question about the crop.

Wheat harvest at W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s Winter Wheat Field Day will feature something for every wheat farmer in the state who has ever had a pest, weed, disease, rotation, nutrient, combine or production-related question about the crop. 

The event will take place June 26 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center, 3775 S. Reese Rd., Frankenmuth. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., and the events conclude at 2:30 p.m.

“We truly hope that wheat farmers will make time to hear from the experts doing applied research on Michigan winter wheat,” said David Milligan, the Cass City-area farmer who chairs the nine-member board of the Michigan Wheat Program (MWP).

“This hasn’t been the best year for growing wheat, but wheat can still make good sense as part of a row crop rotation in our state. This event is designed to help farmers deal with those issues that occur on the farm, and this year is a great year for wheat crop challenges, so we expect a lot of questions. We hope farmers come to the event to talk with the researchers in the field and view local plots to learn how high-management wheat and other new technology could make sense for their operation.”

The morning begins with the wagon tour of wheat research plots and presentations by MSU researchers:

  • Chris DiFonzo, MSU entomology professor and associate chair, “Insect Pests in Field Crops.”
  • Kurt Steinke, MSU assistant professor of soil fertility and nutrient management, “Demonstrating the Effects of Fertilization of Wheat.”
  • Martin Chilvers, MSU assistant professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences; Martin Nagelkirk, MSU Extension field crop educator; and Jan Byrne, MSU plant pathologist, “Wheat Diseases.”
  • Eric Olson, MSU assistant professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, “Breeding High-performance Wheat.”
  • Dean Baas, senior research associate with MSU Extension, “The Importance of Rotation.”
  • Christy Sprague, MSU associate professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, “Weed Control Research for Wheat.”

The morning will conclude with a demonstration of an unmanned aerial vehicle being utilized in the MWP research program. During lunch, participants will hear a market outlook by Gary Kaufman of Star of the West, and a harvest update. Six RUP credits in commercial core, private core and 1A field crops are available.

After lunch, farmers can join the Combine Clinic in the parking lot and visit with equipment dealers to learn more about their combines, proper adjustment, hints on ways to increase yield, and other tips and features important for harvest.

The afternoon will conclude at nearby wheat variety trial plots relevant to the morning presentations.

The MWP is partnering with the Michigan Crop Improvement Association in sponsoring the event and with MSU Extension on developing the programming. There is no cost to attend the event.  Please RSVP on the MWP website or view the day’s full agenda by visiting and clicking on the Winter Wheat Field Day registration form or rhw agenda in the “What’s Hot” section on the front page, or by calling 1-888-WHEAT01 (888-943-2801).

The MWP is a check-off organization funded by nearly 6,500 wheat farmers, who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties.  The Michigan Wheat Program promotes the state’s wheat industry by funding and supporting the strategic priorities of wheat farmers by working with input suppliers, seed producers, other end users and consumers.  Research and grower education have been top priorities for the organization. 

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MSU AgBioResearch engages in innovative, leading-edge research that combines scientific expertise with practical experience to generate economic prosperity, sustain natural resources and enhance the quality of life in Michigan, the nation and the world. It encompasses the work of more than 300 scientists in seven MSU colleges - Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Letters, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, Social Science and Veterinary Medicine - and has a network of 13 research centers across the state.

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