"If at first you don´t succeed, try, try again ..." proved to be good advice for Colin Tipton, who this year, earned the top prize in the 4-H/FFA Wheat Plot Variety Contest at the Kansas State Fair.

Tipton´s entry marked the fifth year he participated in the project and contest, said Deryl Waldren, Kansas State University Research and Extension 4-H youth development specialist and state coordinator for the project.

Tipton is a River Valley Extension District 4-H member.

The contest requires tracking a variety of wheat seeds from planting through harvest and preparing a comparative report display for the county fair, Waldren said. The project process is typically considered among the most difficult 4-H projects, yet, according to Tipton, it´s the process that held his interest.

In a year that offered challenges—too much moisture at planting time, then drought, and rain delays during harvest—he continues to view the contest as an educational opportunity.

"It´s important to see which varieties will do well in your area," said Tipton, whose efforts earned him the first place award—the state championship—and a check for $250 provided by the Kansas Wheat Commission. He is a member of the Munden 4-H Club and a freshman at Kansas State University-Salina.

Earning the Reserve Championship award in the 2008 Wheat Contest was Skyler Glenn, a Scott County 4-H member.

Glenn, a high school freshman and a first-year entrant, said that he was attracted to the contest because of his interest in agriculture.

Harvesting the different varieties and keeping them separate proved the biggest challenge, he said, but success in doing so earned him the second place award check for $100 from the Kansas Crop Improvement Association.

Third through fifth place award winners were: Troy Krehbiel, from Finney County, third place; Veronica Bauer, Cowley County, fourth place, and Adam Duell, Sunflower Extension District, fifth place.

Each of the third though fifth place award winners earned a commemorative plaque and cash award provided by the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. Each also has competed previously and experienced challenges wheat producers will inevitably face.

A June 5 hail storm destroyed all but four bushels of Duell´s crop, and Bauer also experienced rain delays during planting and harvest, but likened her 2008 experience to a popular advertisement:

•Bushel of Wheat, $14

•New Drill, $59,000

•Gallon of diesel, $4.69

•Successful Wheat Harvest: Priceless

Bauer, who farms with her grandfather, John Blankenship, has been a consistent competitor in the annual contest and plans a career as a wheat breeder or milling scientist.

More information about the 2008 contest and upcoming 2009 contest is available by contacting Deryl Waldren at 785-462-6281.

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