ABERDEEN, Idaho — Several new wheat and barley varieties that have been outstanding performers in University of Idaho field trials should soon provide area growers with improved yields and disease resistance, as well as specialized traits addressing several critical needs.
Public and private breeding program representatives highlighted their top new cereal lines during a July 13 field day at the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center.
Earlier this year, Gongshe Hu, barley breeder at USDA’s Aberdeen Agricultural Research Service, released Kardia, a two-row, hulled spring barley for use in the burgeoning human food barley market. Kardia contains 13 percent of a heart-healthy fiber called beta glucan — a higher amount than other available food barley lines without sacrificing yields. Hu said several groups in Washington and Oregon are interested in Kardia. Hu explained his program should also soon release the first of its winter food barley lines.
A spring malt barley line from Hu’s program, ARS 10-65, should be ideal for craft brewing, and its low protein level may enable southeast Idaho dryland farmers to start raising malt barley. Protein levels in most barley lines generally rise above malting specifications under water stress.
“We hope we can find some varieties for dryland growers so they may be able to grow some malting barley,” said Hu, who believes ARS 10-65 could fill the niche, if the industry accepts it.
Hu explained he presented some of his elite lines with desirable craft brewing characteristics for evaluation by the American Malting Barley Association, and ARS 10-65 has emerged as the top option.
Frank Curtis, with Limagrain Cereal Seeds, believes a European two-row spring barley he’s introduced in the U.S., called LCS Odyssey, will solve a challenge for southeast Idaho barley growers, who struggle with cereal cyst nematodes. Odyssey, a craft variety that’s commonly used in whiskey production abroad, provides the only strong resistance to the nematode, Curtis said.
The Limagrain hard red winter wheat, LCS Jet, was the top yielding variety in its class in the Aberdeen trials. Curtis said the variety was distributed in Washington and Oregon in 2016, and its first Idaho distribution will be this fall.
“I think it’s got potential to become a market leader,” Curtis said.
Curtis believes UI Magic, a new Clearfield Plus soft white wheat developed in a partnership between UI and Limagrain, is widely adapted for the Northwest, has strong disease resistance and good yields. It was conventionally bred to resist the active ingredient in Beyond herbicide.
Trenton Stanger, with WestBred, said a new soft white winter wheat, WB 1783, had the top yield in its class in last year’s Aberdeen trials, as well as excellent stripe rust resistance, and should be commercially available to Idaho growers in the fall of 2018.
UI wheat breeder Jianli Chen said seed of her new soft white winter wheat, UI Sparrow, is now being expanded and should be available commercially in the fall of 2018. It’s high yielding, ideal for dryland, resists stripe rust and is among the few soft white winter wheats with dwarf bunt resistance.
Chen plans to release two soft white spring wheats in 2018 — IDO 1405, which has head blight resistance, and IDO 1403, which is less susceptible to low falling number, referring to a test measuring increased activity of an enzyme that breaks down starch and reduces grain quality.