By MATTHEW WEAVER
Two new soft white winter wheat varieties will improve quality and yield and reduce input costs, Oregon State University winter wheat breeder Bob Zemetra says.
One variety, called Kaseberg, is designed to be high-yielding for intermediate- to high-rainfall zones, with high quality.
Zemetra said Kaseberg's background includes the "supersoft" variety ORSS 1757 released several years ago, good for the primary products soft white winter wheat is used for, including cookies, crackers and steamed buns, so it will be good for the domestic and export markets.
Kaseberg has a limited amount of certified and registered seed available this fall. Zemetra said a lot of foundation seed has been sold.
"Depending on where you're growing it, it has the potential to improve on yield and will reduce the impact of stripe rust," he said.
Kaseberg fits in eastern Oregon, as well as parts of southern Idaho and central Washington, he said. It is resistant to stripe rust, which will be helpful in the event of a severe stripe rust year like 2011.
"It reduces the potential issue of having to spray in a moderate to low year," he said. "The risk of a stripe rust epidemic is reduced, (but) it doesn't prevent it. It's a step toward reducing some of the problems we've been having."
The other variety, Ladd, is one of the first to include resistance to soilborne wheat mosaic virus. It is designed for irrigated acres and those areas that already have the disease.
"Once you have it, you pretty much don't get rid of it," Zemetra said of the virus. "It is a safeguard for those producers."
Ladd has a combination of Oregon and Limagrain material. Ladd registered seed will be available this fall.
Zemetra will include the varieties in extension trials to show them to producers.
Zemetra expects to release two more wheat varieties this year. They show promise in yield potential, disease resistance and quality. They will be submitted to the OSU for release consideration at the end of February, he said.
Several hard white wheat lines with a combination of yield, stripe rust resistance and quality are close to being considered. Zemetra said he is also moving forward with the next generation of two-gene Clearfield wheat varieties.