Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 3:53 PM
Stephen Guy, a Washington State University Extension specialist, knows that when it comes to wheat varieties, one size doesn't fit all.
Guy has 21 winter wheat variety trials under way,16 for spring wheat varieties and 10 for barley varieties.
He sees promise in new varieties like WSU's soft white winter wheat Otto, an Eltan replacement with stripe rust and strawbreaker foot rot protection.
Guy said he's seeing more strawbreaker foot rot this year, which causes lodging in higher rainfall zones.
In the intermediate-rainfall area around Mayview, Wash., the new soft white winter wheat ARS Amber has been top-yielding over five years. It has late-season stripe rust protection but no foot rot resistance, Guy said.
Mike Flowers, Oregon State University Extension cereals specialist, is harvesting soft and hard winter wheat in 11 locations, with five spring wheat trials and three barley trials.
Flowers said yields are average to above average, which corresponds to what most growers are seeing.
He pointed to OSU's soft white winter wheat Kaseberg, Syngenta's soft white SY Ovation, WestBred's soft white Junction and Limagrain's soft white Artdeco as being among the good performers available to growers.
Flowers recommends growers look at a variety's long-term average. The last three or four years have been relatively wet, he said, which favors later-maturing varieties in Oregon.
"If we get back into a drier year, earlier-maturing varieties are going to do better," he said.
Flowers said farmers should choose varieties from different maturing classes and with the right disease package. Barley yellow-dwarf virus is an issue in the region, so growers should get as much protection as possible.
Guy recommends growers keep all the usual pest and disease suspects in mind as they select varieties for next year.
"We don't know what's going to be the big disease next year, the big problem or the big opportunity, for that matter," he said. "Are we going to have good precipitation and high yield potential? If it ends up being a dry year, that might be a totally different scenario."
In the past, Guy's program has charged private varieties to enter the trials, but that policy has been changed. The Washington Grain Commission has provided funding to cover the cost of including those entries. Guy expects the trial to be larger next year, given that the private sector is interested in participating.
Guy recommends selecting a variety with good stripe rust resistance, noting stripe rust will always be a factor in the region.
"Because growers are pretty aware of stripe rust now, there's some cases where they probably applied fungicides where they didn't need to," he said. "If you have good, resistant varieties, you kind of (don't) have to worry about that so much."
Oregon State University: http://cropandsoil.oregonstate.edu/wheat
Washington State University variety trials: http://variety.wsu.edu