Michigan Wheat Program Summer Field Day set for June 16 in Frankenmuth

10-Year Celebration Program to follow!

The Michigan Wheat Program’s 2022 Summer Field Day is set for Thursday, June 16!  A special addition to this year’s Field Day is a Program celebrating the first 10 years of the  wheat check-off. Both events will be held at the MSU Saginaw Valley Research & Extension Center, 3775 S. Reese Rd. in Frankenmuth.

On-site check-in and continental breakfast begin at 8:15 a.m., and wagons pull out for the plot tour presentations at 9 a.m.  When plot tours are concluded, attendees will have lunch followed by the 10-Year Celebration Program.

The afternoon program (1-2:30 p.m.) will focus on the development, progress to date and future plans of the Michigan Wheat Program. People who helped get the wheat check-off up and running, other supporters and growers are invited to share in a walk through the organization’s history and celebrate a “Decade of Dedication: Delivers a Difference.”

“Every year nearly 200 of the state’s wheat farmers take time out of our fields to view research results firsthand and talk with researchers about what they see and how we can apply their results on our farms,” said Jeff Krohn, chairman of the nine-member Michigan Wheat Program board and a wheat farmer from Owendale.

“The board sees the Summer Field Day as one of the ways we report back to the growers,” Krohn said.  “Those who attend can see the results for themselves, ask questions and share ‘best practices’ with other farmers and the researchers. It is a very worthwhile event.”

Morning wagon tours on June 16 feature the following topics and presenters, who are funded in part by the Michigan Wheat Program:

  • Wheat Variety Release Work – MSU wheat breeder Dr. Eric Olson
  • Weed Control Research – Dr. Christy Sprague
  • Seed Treatment and Disease Management – MSU wheat specialist Dennis Pennington and retired MSU wheat educator Martin Nagelkirk
  • Canopy Cover – Dr. Manni Singh
  • Spring Cereal Crops Highlighting Spring Wheat/Oats – Pennington
  • Wheat Planting (Equipment) Trial – Singh and Patrick Copeland

Dr. Jan Byrne of the MSU Plant Diagnostics Center will be evaluating on-site or accepting for later report-back any ailing wheat specimens brought in by growers. Cost of the diagnostics service continues to be covered through the Michigan Wheat Program.

An after-lunch highlight is the 10-Year Celebration of the Michigan Wheat Program, the Great Lakes State’s wheat check-off.

“Many people spent many years working to get a check-off program for Michigan wheat farmers,” commented its original and current executive director Jody Pollok-Newsom.  “Twenty years ago, the effort to establish a wheat check-off was unsuccessful. But work performed by the Wheat 2000 Program continued to demonstrate the need for on-farm wheat research and the challenges brought about by falling numbers further demonstrated the need for a grower voice and education.”

Thanks to a persistent group of wheat growers and agricultural leaders who saw that growers needed more information and research, a second attempt at a wheat check-off in 2011 succeeded.

“Many people who helped get the Michigan Wheat Program established will be recognized at our 10-Year Celebration and thanked for their vision and stick-to-it-iveness to get this done,” Pollok-Newsom said.

Bob Boehm, retired from Michigan Farm Bureau, will provide an overview of the early years.  Pollok-Newsom will overview the check-off’s accomplishments to date, and Dennis Pennington will give a current research update and provide updates on a future-looking program. The Celebration will conclude at 2:30 p.m.

For growers attending the Summer Field Day, 6 RUP credits are available and CCA credits are pending combined in the areas of Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, Crop Management and Professional Development.

There is no cost to attend the Michigan Wheat Program’s Summer Field Day or 10-Year Celebration thanks to state’s wheat farmers contributing through the Michigan Wheat Program.  To ensure an accurate count for lunch, wagon seating and celebration materials, please RSVP at www.miwheat.org under the “What’s Hot” tab on the left side.  Or register by calling 1-888-WHEAT01 (888-943-2801).