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Kansas Wheat Book is now available

Wheat planting time is just around the corner and farmers will soon be making decisions about the best variety to plant and where they will get their seed. The Kansas Wheat Book, available at county Extension offices and from the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, offers answers to both of these questions.

The first half of the Kansas Wheat Book reports the performance of most new and popular varieties at various Kansas State University research locations around the state. Farmers can use this unbiased information to select a wheat variety that is well adapted to their particular fields. The remainder of the book is a directory to locate sources of seed by variety and by county.

Many farmers save their own seed from year to year. While they save money on the cost of seed, they maybe sacrificing yield in the long run.

"The first consideration should always be what variety to plant," says Daryl Strouts, KCIA executive director. "When a farmer saves his own seed he is stuck with the same variety he has used in the past. He's going to have to buy seed in order to get a new, better performing variety."

Purchasing Certified seed is the best assurance that the seed is the desired variety, good quality and being legally sold. Certified seed comes with an official blue label attached to every bag, invoice or certificate for bulk seed sales. If farmers don't receive a blue label, the seed is likely not certified.

With patented traits, like Clearfield wheat varieties, it may be illegal for farmers to plant their saved seed. As new technologies are incorporated into wheat seed, farmers will be asked to sign an agreement when they purchase the seed that states they will not save seed for future plantings.

It has been a common practice for farmers to save-back some of their wheat crop as seed for the next year. Most farmers know that this is allowed under the Plant Variety Protection Act. What most farmers don't know about this provision in the PVPA is that they must first purchase seed legally. If they bought their seed illegally from another farmer or elsewhere, they are not allowed to save-back seed under the PVP rules.

In the last few years, wheat seed companies have started going after farmers, seed cleaners and elevators who have infringed upon their property rights by selling seed illegally. These seed companies could also pursue the farmers who purchased the seed and have them destroy the fields they planted with this seed.

"We recognize that farmers who purchase illegal seed are part of the problem. If they wouldn't buy the seed, then no one would be interested in selling it," says Strouts.

When a farmer buys certified seed, he invests in his future. A part of the cost of that seed goes into research and the development of new, improved varieties for the benefit of farmers.

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