Fred Newby and his family have been farming in Pratt County for decades and growing good wheat including this year where Newby was the market wheat champion at the Pratt County Fair for the second year in a row.
Fred Newby, winner of the 2018 Pratt County Fair Market Wheat Show, has established a tradition of producing top quality grains in Pratt County. His family name lends itself to an even longer association with farming, going all the way back to the Mayflower many generations ago.
Newby’s first name is actually Fredrick and he is part of many generations of Newby men that have Fredrick as their first or middle name. Each of those Fredricks have farmed the soil in the northwest part of the county well known for its sandhills.
Newby, who was the state market wheat champion as well as county winner in 2017, farms the same land his father Clarence Fredrick Newby farmed for many decades. Newby purchased additional land for cultivation but the farm headquarters are still on the old farmstead.
These days he gets some help running the farm from his sons Lynn, Craig and Brent, who are triplets. His son Ben, who is a twin, has also helped from time to time. Each of the sons has the middle name Fredrick and one son also has a son named Fredrick.
This makes several generations that have farmed the land. Newby’s grandparents farmed west of Byers and north of where Newby lives now.
The Newby family settled in Barton County in the 1800s when his grandfather Fredrick Newby moved south into Stafford County and finally into Pratt County, west of Byers. Newby’s father Clarence Fredrick Newby moved the family farm southwest of Byers, the farm where Newby and his sisters Lois and Carol grew up. Newby’s great-great grandfather, great grandfather and grandfather were all named Fredrick.
A family genealogy reveals that the Newby family were Quakers and came to America on the Mayflower. They traveled across the country from Pennsylvania to Indiana, then Nebraska and finally south to Kansas.
While Newby produced some good wheat this year, he is expecting a strong challenge for the best wheat at the state fair this year.
“I think statewide there will be better wheat,” New- by said. “I’m one of many at the state fair.”
Newby’s winning wheat variety was Double Stop CL Plus, the same variety he won with in 2017. His farm is in the sand hills where moisture gets sucked up quickly.
“If you want to plant good wheat in the sand, use Double Stop,” Newby said.
Winning the county wheat show was no small feat as there were 31 eligile entries and 23 participants this year.
“We have six classes in the market wheat show,” said Pratt County Extension Agent Vicki Simonsen. “The wheat is sampled right off the truck at participating elevators. Each participant can submit one sample per class for competition. The samples are evaluated for protein content, shatter and dockage.”
Simonsen said that overall, Pratt County wheat graded out high quality this year at 14 percent protein and 61.4 average test weight.