Texas producers recognized as National Wheat Yield Contest winners

Shawn Kimbrell of Sunray, Texas, and Kenneth O’Neal of Groom, Texas, were announced as national and state winners in the winter wheat category of the National Wheat Yield Contest.

The National Wheat Yield Contest is held by the National Wheat Foundation, a non-profit organization managed by the National Association of Wheat Growers that serves as the center for wheat research, education and outreach. The contest offers wheat growers the opportunity to compete on a national level and improve their production practices through new and innovative techniques. There are winners in two primary categories: winter wheat and spring wheat; as well as two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. All submitted samples are analyzed for quality, with only the highest grade wheat samples eligible to place in the contest. Submissions are also tested on other quality factors like protein and test weight.

Kimbrell received second place in the national dryland winter wheat category for the percentage increase by which his crop yield exceeded his county’s five-year Olympic average. His final yield was 50.89 bushels per acre, 211% over the Moore County average. Kimbrell planted the WestBred variety WB4594. He also received second place in the state dryland winter wheat category, which is based on overall yield.

“The best takeaway from my experience is this: In 1979, my dad drove over 1,700 miles to Washington, D.C. on a tractor to ask the government for fair price support for farmers,” said Kimbrell. “At the time, wheat was three dollars. This year, I sold my wheat for eight dollars. We’ve come a long way in 40 years.”

Kimbrell grows dryland wheat in a no-till rotation with a spring crop, such as cotton or sorghum, followed by layout ground. He also co-owns and operates his family seed company, Seed Inc., which offers a wide selection of seed varieties as well as custom bagging, seed conditioning and seed treatments.

O’Neal received fourth place in the national dryland winter wheat category for percentage increase over his county average. His final yield was 76.53 bushels per acre, 190% over the Carson County average. O’Neal planted the WestBred variety WB4792. He also received first place in both the state dryland and irrigated winter wheat categories. His irrigated wheat was WestBred Winterhawk.

“We have always had luck growing WestBred varieties, so I felt comfortable trying a new dryland variety while sticking with a trusted irrigated variety,” said O’Neal. “Mother nature was helpful for us this year, since we were able to dodge the bad weather and catch some timely moisture.”

O’Neal grows both dryland and irrigated wheat, as well as corn, grain sorghum and cotton.

National contest winners will be recognized at the 2022 Commodity Classic in New Orleans.