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Senior Contributor

Synergistic effects of mixing wheat varieties

I've heard of wheat farmers deliberately mixing 2 or more varieties of the same wheat class at planting to increase protein levels. Is there any truth to this? Why would the protein level of mixed varieties be more than the average if each variety separately? Do they really grow so differently from one another that they are accessing different nutrient locations in the soil?
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Veteran Contributor

Re: Synergistic effects of mixing wheat varieties

I've never seen a blend do better than the highest yielding variety alone.  One problem with mixed blends is the difference in sizes between the two varieties means that they are competing more with each other for resources, leading to more vegetative growth and essentially making the shorter variety a weed.  The only thing I can think of is planting alternating strips possibly, say a high yielding variety with little disease tolerance along with a laggard that can withstand, for example, rust diseases or has a high Hessian fly rating.  

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Senior Contributor

Re: Synergistic effects of mixing wheat varieties

KSKid,
The logical side of me agrees with your assessment. We are fortunate enough to work with a couple growers in their 80's who always out farm everyone else. They mix varieties every year and repeatedly out yield and have higher protein than the other growers. They have no straightforward explanation for me, but it sure gets me to thinking. Thanks for your thoughts.
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