On June 27, 2018 Knobel Seeds seed supplier played host to some international guests from South America. Sponsored by the U.S. Wheat Associates and Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, the Chile-Ecuador Wheat Trade Mission brought representatives from these countries who are involved with the wheat trade.
Among the guests was Ms. Maria Indés Velarde, a quality and development manager from Molino La Estaqmpa S.A. Chile, Ms. Maria Graciela Ferrer, director chairman of the board for Importadora de Granos G9 S.A. Chile, Mr. Henry Medina, wheat trader from Grupo Moderna Ecuador, Mr. Osvaldo Seco, assistant regional director of the U.S. Wheat Associates, Inc, and Royce Schaneman, executive director of Nebraska Wheat Board. 
The goal of the mission is to build relations between U.S. and foreign wheat industries as well as to educate other nations on the U.S. wheat industry. 
Mark Knobel, owner of Knobel Seeds, invited the representatives to his facility to tour and talk about the wheat industry in the U.S. Knobel has been part of the wheat trade mission for many years now. Although most of the wheat farms in Nebraska are out west, closer to Colorado, he is one of the closest to Lincoln. 
Knobel gave the delegates a tour of the seed plant and later took them out to the portion of his lot where he was currently growing wheat in the field. 
He went on to comment that it had been very dry lately, but the rainfall that started recently yielded three to four inches of water. Although that is good for the other crops Knobel has, he went on to say it makes it more difficult to harvest the wheat.
After the wheat has been harvested, Knobel will double crop on the same field. According to Knobel, normally the go to for the area is to double crop with sunflowers; however, soy plants are also common. Next year he will start over then with corn on the dry land.
On display for the foreign visitors, Knobel had a bucket of the wheat seed that he produced from last year’s harvest. He says the quality of the seed was important not just for the producers but for what they give to their buyers.
“I guess that’s one thing I want you to understand about the U.S. production that maybe you don’t see in other parts of the world,” Knobel said, “I’m in the seed business, I’m just a small fragment of the industry, but quality, you guys in particular, are a focal point of all our efforts; is to provide you with stuff that’s going to work in your mills, provide you with consistent product for your customers, something you want to use.”
The use of private industries and extensive wheat breeding in the region, according to Knobel, produces not only a high quality of crop, one that can withstand disease, but also has a big prodigy, a major part of the overall equation. 
To be of the best quality product, it has to meet certain milling and baking standards. IF the quality is not what the consumer or buyer wants then it turns over to feed grain for livestock or use in flatbread. 
Knobel believes the factor that sets the U.S. apart from anyone else in wheat production is quality. According to him, the one constant with the U.S. despite tariffs or currency exchange is quality and consistent product. The price may be elevated, but Knobel says that in the long run it is worth the cost. 
When it comes to seed selection there are several factors that Knobel must keep in mind. It’s not just what will work best for him but also what will produce the best product for the consumer. For his selection, Knobel likes utilizing only certified seed. 
Nebraska is only 50 percent certified seed. Wheat is a self-pollinating crop and not a hybrid. Knobel keeps it consistent with a known variety. A commercially grown and processed that is clean. This seed is two to five percent higher yielding. 
Each year Knobel buys new seed for his fields. He says that it does not cost much more and to some producers it pays off greatly. 
After planting the seeds, the crop is treated with fungicides and pesticides. This is an extra layer of protection for the growth of the crop and gives the crop a good start. Knobel commented that although it is not uncommon to treat all the fields at once and over lap on pesticides, he prefers to treat each field individually. 
Knobel has 5 variety of wheat this year planted. In the area, there is a total of 25 different variety. Due to the soil and moisture, it is common to do a lot of no till. 
When asked about the use of organic fertilizer, Knobel reported that the main organic matter he uses is animal manure for fertilizer. 
“It’s pretty extensively used, especially as commercial fertilizer is escalated in price, the interest in use of animal manure is greatly increased, just for a fact of economics,” Knobel noted. 
He went on to say that due to the higher rainfall in the area, most farmers in the area use manure. Knobel personally uses mainly non-organic products but has nothing against the use of organic products.
Out further west, according to Knobel, in western Nebraska and eastern Colorado where the rainfall is lower, farmers rely on the minerals in the soil and are more organic.
“To give you an idea, in Nebraska there are about 5,000 wheat farmers, the ones that are organic there’s only 50 or less,” Schaneman.
Knobel explained the difference in a seed production and consumption production farms. He stressed the importance for a seed farm to keep the purity of the seed. Consumption farms he said do not have to worry about that; however, for seed plants like his, he is careful to maintain the genetic purity by cleaning bins and keeping all the variety separate. 
“In South America we blend a lot. We blend harder wheat with softer wheat for bread, just because it is cheaper and give more subtility for the flower and many other reasons,” Seco commented. 
The South American visitors were given a tour of the seed plant, watering truck, and field. During their visit to Nebraska, the trade mission met with wheat experts in the area.