Wheat is a grain widely grown in the Southeast area and other parts of Colorado as well as the world. Wheat is a cereal grass and one of the oldest domesticated crop plants in human history. Archeological finds suggest that the earliest domestication of wheat occurred in the Fertile Crescent about 9600 years ago. It is widely used to make bread, pasta, cake, crackers, cookies, pastry, flour, starch, paste, malt, dextrose, gluten, and alcohol (beer). Wheat is an integral component of Western society and part of many foods we eat.

The most frequently grown wheat species is called common wheat (Triticum aestivum). According to the USDA last year almost 2 million acres of wheat were planted and about 1.5 million acres harvested in Colorado. The average amount of yield per acre for 2022 was 25 bushel/acre which equates to about 35.8-million-bushel wheat worth almost $300 million dollars.

Every year Colorado State University (CSU) Crops Testing and Extension partners with local producers to grow 5 to 6 winter wheat varieties throughout the eastern part of Colorado. These Collaborative on Farm Trial (COFT) is important to growers and researchers a like. Every year CSU Crops Testing and Extension invites everyone to look at the fields during the CSU Wheat Field Days which will be held from June 1st through June 6th, 2023. These field days are a good opportunity to see how well the varieties are growing in the local communities. You can also learn about drought tolerance, disease resistance, yield, maturity, and heritance of these varieties.

In September 2022 CSU Crops Testing delivered Amplify SF, Whistler, Widom SF, Fortify SF, and Kivari AX to several producers in the Southeast Area to be planted on their farms. The abbreviation of SF means that these varieties carry a trait that helps defend against a wheat stem sawfly attack. Their stems are either semisolid or solid. The wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus) is a wasp like insect which has been found in Northern Colorado as well as other parts of the USA. So far, they have not been found in Colorado south of I-70. Adults are slender, with grayish to smoky-brown wings. Adults emerge in May or when temperatures exceed 62 degrees Fahrenheit during a three-to-four-week period. They emerge within wheat stubble and live for about one week. Females lay their eggs into the stem of the wheat plant. The larvae feed on the wheat stem during the migration to the bottom near the soil and create there a V-shaped notch. This V-shaped notch makes the wheat stem vulnerable to lodging and breaking off. Lodging makes harvesting difficult or impossible and is the reason for the yield losses associated with wheat stem sawfly activity.  The abbreviation AX denotes that the wheat variety can be used with the CoAXium system. Wheat varieties with AX at the end of the name have been created with an herbicide tolerant trait that a broad-spectrum herbicide can be used to suppress annual and perennial grasses.

In the middle of April, Colorado State University Agronomists visited fields from Walsh in the southeast, to Julesburg, in the northeast of Colorado, to check on the progress of these fields. Most of the wheat in eastern Colorado is grown without irrigation. Producers rely on rain and snow for moisture. During our visits to these fields, we observed how precipitation has a major impact on wheat growth. As my colleague Ron Meyer reported, the wheat stands south of I-70 are poor and yield potential is low. On the other hand, the wheat stands north of I-70 have a better stand and a higher yield potential. Let’s hope for more rain.

Colorado State University Crops testing invites everyone to look at this year’s winter wheat variety trials for themselves between June 1st and June 6th, 2023. For more detailed information and directions please see


Walsh on June 1 at 8:30 a.m. CSU Plainsman Research Center, breakfast provided.

Lamar on June 1 at 12:00 p.m. Stulp Farms, lunch provided by Farm Credit of Southern Colorado.

Brandon on June 1 at 4:30 p.m. Scherler Farms, dinner provided by Cargill of Cheyenne Wells.

Burlington on June 2 at 8:00 a.m. Hinkhouse Farms, breakfast provided by Stratton Equity Co-op.

Genoa on June 2 at 11:30 a.m. Homestead Farms, lunch provided by Pachner Agri Enterprises.

Orchard on June 5 at 11:00 a.m. Wickstrom Farms, lunch provided.

Hoyt Irrigated on June 5 at 2:00 p.m. Cooksey Farms LLC, refreshments provided.

Roggen on June 5 at 4:00 p.m. Cooksey Family Farms, dinner provided.

Julesburg on June 6 at 8:00 a.m Carlson Farms LLC, breakfast provided by Carlson Grain Company.

Yuma on June 6 at 11:30 a.m. Andrews Brothers Farms, lunch provided by Andrews Brothers Seed.

Akron on June 6 at 2:30 p.m. USDA-ARS Central Plains Research Center.  Wheat stem sawfly panel from 2:30-3:30, wheat plot tour from 3:45-5:00, dinner to follow.


Contact: Michaela Mattes
CSU Extension Agent/ Southeast Area
(719) 336-7734

For more information, contact your local Extension Office:  Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County 719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734 or find us on the web at:

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