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Wet weather harms some WSU variety trials

Growers can ask to see variety test results from several locations, but the data from those sites shouldn’t be used to make planting decisions, said cereal variety testing program director Ryan Higginbotham.
Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Published on October 18, 2017 11:01AM

Ryan Higginbotham, director of Washington State University’s cereal variety testing program, talks about the performances of wheat varieties at a test plot in Lamont, Wash., during a field day July 6. Wet weather at planting time and through the spring caused problems with some of the trials, he said.

Matthew Weaver/Capital Press File

Ryan Higginbotham, director of Washington State University’s cereal variety testing program, talks about the performances of wheat varieties at a test plot in Lamont, Wash., during a field day July 6. Wet weather at planting time and through the spring caused problems with some of the trials, he said.

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Weather and other factors have damaged some of Washington State University’s grain variety trials.

“It started raining in the spring and just never quit,” said Ryan Higginbotham, director of the cereal variety testing program.

A winter wheat test plot in Farmington had standing water over a portion of the trial, making it difficult to find an average across three replications of the trial. The wheat varieties were thin and stressed for nutrients, Higginbotham said.

“It’s not a true reflection of those varieties, it’s just based on where that water was standing,” he said.

In Bickelton and Lamont, individual varieties performed inconsistently, leading to results that were “highly variable” and not suitable for making variety selection decisions for spring wheat.

In St. John, a problem at planting time for spring wheat caused Higginbotham’s team to lose the entire first replication. The remaining two replications did not provide usable data.

Wet conditions at spring wheat planting caused a poor stand establishment in Walla Walla, and the trial was abandoned.

“It was wet when we planted, and we were already late,” Higginbotham said. “We could have waited longer to plant, but we were trying to get it into the ground as soon as we could, it was probably just too wet.”

The drill had problems planting hard red spring wheat in Fairfield, and the trial was lost.

Higginbotham said it’s not unique to have locations where he can’t report results.

“That’s just going to be the way it goes,” he said. “If I ever have a perfect year, I think I better just retire. There’s always something.”

Online

http://smallgrains.wsu.edu/variety/



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