Meet Your 2016 Winners: Rick Horton


Wichita County, Kansas

Yield- 127.94 bushels per acre— 373.85% above the Wichita County average

Variety- Joe KWA

First and foremost we have to thank the good Lord above for blessing us with this crop, because without rain and favorable weather none of this happens.

Our farming operation is comprised of my dad Ken, two brothers Matt and Alec, and myself. We are a mix of wheat, corn, and milo. All the wheat we raise is for our certified seed business, Horton Seed Services.

We decided to enter the contest to see how the way we manage wheat stacks up to everyone else in the Nation. We are complete no-till, and we treat all of our wheat acres the same when it comes to seed treatments, fertility, fungicides, and insecticides. The base of our fertility program stems from spreading conditioned manure every third year with soil samples telling us where we need to supplement past that. We vary seeding populations based on varieties, to achieve a final desired head count per variety. Most of what we do is trying to achieve a wheat head with more spikelet’s, and more grainfill while limiting the amount of plants we have to make to achieve our yield goals. We then take 3 to 4 quarters a year and try new practices on top of what we already do, getting more than one look in different areas to see if they result in yield, and most of all in profit. If it proves to be a substantial gain, we will then implement it the following year. We may go a year or two without finding anything that works, but if we don’t continue to try we won’t find the next thing to advance profit. What it essentially comes down to is solid fertility, good genetics, timing of applications, attention to detail, and the final say to it all, Rain.

I believe the National Wheat Yield Contest is a great thing for the wheat industry as a whole. Any company that has a stake in wheat will want their products to be at the top. Team that up with producers wanting to advance yields and profitability, and you have the recipe for discovery and implementation, which might not happen otherwise.