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Wheat Shows Its Strength

July 28, 2012
By: John Buckner, Farm Journal Executive Editor
Wheat Field
With more investment in developing wheat varieties that produce larger yields, farmers will be challenged to choose varieties wisely.  

Management system should determine farmers’ choice of variety

Whoever said patience is a virtue knew what he was talking about, particularly when it comes to choosing wheat varieties. It can also make you more prosperous, says Jeff Edwards, small grains specialist with Oklahoma State University (OSU).

Wheat seed selection is not only about yield potential. "Variety choice should always be on a field-by-field basis and should be based on the producer’s management system," Edwards says. His considerations include grazing, use of fungicide, soil pH, nitrogen applications and tillage practices.

David Boehm, key account lead with the cereals division of Syngenta, agrees. "I grew up on a wheat farm where it was plant at a ‘bushel and a peck’ and wait ’til harvest. Now, growers are paying attention to a lot more detail throughout the season."

Northern Plains. Boehm says Syngenta has released a new hard red winter (HRW) wheat, SY Wolf, under the AgriPro brand. It is the No. 1 yielder in AgriPro’s three-year average data for South Dakota. "It has outstanding foliar disease tolerance and straw strength, and I imagine that over the past few years, that is where it is getting the yield advantage," he says.

"This past spring, we introduced SY Soren spring wheat to growers. It has again performed well, with a very strong combination of yield, quality, disease tolerance and agronomics.

The producers that had it this summer have been well pleased," Boehm says.

Monsanto’s WestBred brand has a new HRW variety that was developed for the sawfly areas of Montana, according to Jeff Koscelny, wheat commercial lead. "WB-Quake is a new solid-stem variety with high yield potential under sawfly pressure.

WB9879CLP is a new two-gene Clearfield hard red spring variety that brings the combination of Montana varietal characteristics with sawfly tolerance and Clearfield technology."

Central and Southern Plains. "The newest of the new varieties that caught my eye are Gallagher, Iba and WB-Cedar," says OSU’s Edwards. "They all had mostly clean flag leaves and were resistant to the new race of stripe rust that hit the Plains this year. Gallagher and Iba both have Duster as a parent. Gallagher is Hessian fly resistant and a great forage producer. Iba has a very broad range of adaptation and is suitable for areas well outside of the Oklahoma state line, including western Kansas and the Texas Panhandle."

Edwards says WB-Cedar is relatively new to the scene and performed well in 2012. "It had a very clean flag leaf all season and benefited from adequate moisture. Having said all this, seed will be fairly tight for all of these varieties.

"Billings and Ruby Lee are two newer varieties that performed well in 2012 and will have ample seed availability this fall," he adds. Ruby Lee emphasizes the need to match variety to management system. It is moderately susceptible to stripe rust: it works best in systems with good yield potential where fungicides are an option. It is Hessian fly resistant, has good forage production, and great yield potential if managed properly. Weak points are straw strength and acid soil tolerance."

Koscelny says that Monsanto will have two new lines available for 2013–14. "WB-Grainfield is a medium to late maturing HRW variety adapted to the High Plains from Amarillo north through Nebraska. Leaf rust and soilborne mosaic resistance enables broad adaptation of this variety. WB-Redhawk is a mid-early line that will be targeted to the continuous wheat growing areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

"As the technology investment in wheat increases, farmers should expect and prepare for higher yields but also more intensive management," Koscelny says.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Seed Guide 2012
RELATED TOPICS: Seed

 
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