LANSING, Mich. — Wheat growers interested in becoming part of a ground-breaking new program must register now, so they don’t lose out on the 2023 opportunity to learn more about their wheat crop and how to hit their yield potential.
Registration closes Jan. 27 for growers interested in participating in the second year of the Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) program. To register or for more information on Great Lakes YEN visit https://www.GreatLakesYEN.com or look for the hashtag #GreatLakesYEN.
Every farm involved in the Great Lakes YEN shares soil, tissue and whole plant analysis for comparison and benchmarking. Growers receive reports specific to their farm. Growers will learn more about how their wheat crop develops and produces yield, and how they compare to their peers.
Great Lakes YEN registration for 2023 closes Jan. 27. Growers must be registered and submit the $250 participation fee prior to program launch in February 2023.
“We have a lot of work to get done to get growers their boxes with all the materials needed to take the samples including pre-addressed and stamped envelopes,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program, the check-off program collaborating to bring the Great Lakes YEN to wheat farmers. “We also need to get participants set up with access to the database so they can enter their selected YEN field. We need everything ready to go before growers head out into the fields this spring – and it’s anyone’s guess when that will happen!”
All of the organization and work put into the program has been grower-driven since the beginning of YEN in 2012 in the United Kingdom.
“The idea of looking at the estimated yield potential and then providing a direct link back to growers is a novel concept that has really “moved the needle” in the UK when it comes to yields,” said Dennis Pennington, YEN collaborator and Michigan State University wheat specialist. “During the Michigan Wheat Program’s 2021 Wheat Wisdom webinar series, we featured Dr. Pete Berry of the UK YEN as one of our speakers.”
“There was much interest by growers as to how the UK YEN functioned. We had already begun our collaborative work with Ontario, so these comments from growers were just what we needed to get the Great Lakes YEN up and running even more quickly,” Pennington said.
As the second year of Great Lakes YEN gets underway, it’s already proving to be a program that encourages farmers to try new things and learn from data that are comparable across the Great Lakes region. Every field is different and has different yield potential based on a multitude of factors, such as environment (rainfall, sunlight), soil (water holding capacity, nutrient level), and management (inputs used and timing). Growers are responsible to enter their data throughout the growing season.
Once harvest is complete, data is compiled and reported back to each participant via a field-specific written report as well as through regional events. Individual farm data will be specific to each grower and is safeguarded and not reported back to anyone except that grower.
The Great Lakes YEN is built off the strong history of the Yield Enhancement Network developed in the United Kingdom in 2012. Through the collaboration of agricultural stakeholders in the Great Lakes region in the US and Ontario, the Great Lakes YEN connects farmers, agronomists, academics, extension specialists, agriculture organizations and more, to analyze, measure and understand yield potential vs. actual yield of a given field.
This data-heavy program is very expensive and sponsors are welcome to help offset some of the expenses. Companies interested in joining the Great Lakes YEN as sponsors, please reach out to the Michigan Wheat Program (Jody Pollok-Newsomjody@miwheat.org) or Grain Farmers of Ontario (Marty Vermey email@example.com).
Great Lakes YEN Project
Established in 2021, the Great Lakes YEN (Yield Enhancement Network) was created in partnership with the Michigan Wheat Program, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Michigan State University, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph, to improve crop returns through greater understanding of crop performance and increased collaboration between industry and farmers. For more information visit www.GreatLakesYEN.com.
— Michigan Wheat Program