This year, Nebraska Wheat celebrates its 65th anniversary, according to a press release.
The Nebraska Wheat Resources Act was passed in 1955, allocating ¼ of every penny per bushel to create and fund the Nebraska Wheat Board. The board educates and promotes the wheat industry around the state, supporting public and private research; expands Nebraska’s domestic and international wheat markets and advocates for better farm policy on the federal level. The Board is made of seven directors, appointed by the governor, and has a staff of three to administer the day-to-day work and execute the Board’s directives.
Nebraska’s wheat crop has changed significantly in the past 65 years, according to the press release.
In 1955, Nebraska planted 3,750,000 acres of wheat. Hard Red Winter accounted for 99.4% of planted acres and the remaining 0.6% was a combination of Hard Red Spring and other varieties. Cheyenne was the leading wheat variety produced that year, accounting for 34.7% of the total wheat acres. That year farmers averaged 24.9 bushels per acre during their harvest.
Today, Nebraska still plants Hard Red Winter as a majority of the wheat crop, though annual acres have decreased to 920,000. In the past couple of years, however, producers are beginning to plant more acres of Hard Red Spring and lines of Hard White wheat are in the pipeline for future production. Nebraska’s 2019 top planted Hard Red Winter wheat variety was SY Monument, which accounted for 18% of the certified seed sold within the state. Through production enhancements and genetics, farmers averaged 57 bushels per acre during 2019’s harvest.
The state’s wheat production history provides a glimpse into the past and can serve as a guide to where the industry is heading, the Wheat Board said. For the first time, all Nebraska Wheat Variety Surveys are available to view on nebraskawheat.com.