VGPA participates in wheat tour

Published 10:42 am Thursday, June 21, 2018

by Ben Rowe

On May 30-31, the Virginia Grain Producers Association participated in the 2018 Virginia Wheat Tour hosted by the Virginia Farm Bureau. This was the third year of this annual event that brings wheat buyers, end users, and merchandisers to wheat farms across the Commonwealth to examine the quality, anticipated yield, and varieties soon to be available for purchase.

Boogie and Paul Davis welcomed the group to their New Kent County Farm, and Robert Harper provided the group with an overview of the 2018 wheat crop and logistics of the tour. — Submitted | Ben Rowe

The event began on May 30 at the Davis family’s farm in New Kent County. We were greeted by our hosts Boogie and Paul Davis and given a general overview of their farm where they grow corn, wheat, barley, oats and soybeans, including several thousand test plots for Virginia Tech and private seed companies.

Paul took the group on a tour of his test plots where we practiced the evaluation techniques needed to estimate yield potential and identify common diseases. Under Paul’s guidance we perfected the skills we would need the next day to visit more than 19 wheat fields across the Commonwealth.

To wind down the evening we were treated to a steak dinner prepared by Paul and his wife, Marion, and sponsored by VGPA.

Paul Davis discussing quality characteristics and attributes of one of his many small grain plots.

On the morning of May 31, participants split into three groups and headed to the Northern Neck, the Middle Peninsula and Northwestern Virginia to visit 19 farms in 12 counties. At each farm the groups would split into two and take at least four representative samples from different area of the field and evaluate them for yield potential, quality, and disease. Data was them compiled to provide field averages, which was then compiled into county and regional averages.

Stephen Fletcher of Perdue AgriBusiness, left, and VGPA Executive Director Ben Rowe assess a wheat field in Lancaster County. — Submitted | Caroline Campbell, VCE intern

At the end of the day, the three groups met at Jake’s Place Restaurant in Ashland for a dinner sponsored by the Virginia Farm Bureau, Perdue Agribusiness and Gavilon, and had an opportunity to discuss their findings from the day and to compile date. Robert Harper, manager of VAFB Grain Division, compiled the overall results of the tour and will provide them to interested companies and other mid-Atlantic states.

The overall field average yield of the Northern Neck tour was 78.33 bu/ac; overall field average yield of the Middle Peninsula tour was 97.42 bu/ac; and overall field average yield of the Northwestern Virginia tour was 72.39 bu/ac. Disease pressure across all locations was light and uncommon.

For full results, including individual fields, subscribe to the VGPA e-newsletter by emailing

Thank you again to Virginia Farm Bureau for hosting and coordinating this event and to the sponsors: CFC Farm Home Center, Gavilon, Mennel, Perdue Agribusiness and VGPA.

BEN ROWE is the executive director of the Virginia Grain Producers Association. Contact him at