Washington State University’s winter wheat breeder, Arron Carter, recently provided a sneak peek at upcoming new varieties during a presentation for dryland farmers.
New varieties include:
• Devote (soft white winter wheat): High-yielding cultivar for low-rainfall areas. Resistant to stripe rust, eyespot foot root, snow mold and Fusarium crown rot. Good emergence, cold tolerance and end-use quality.
Carter developed Devote after noticing WSU’s variety Otto performs well in dry conditions, but doesn’t necessarily respond to wetter years.
“Devote is one of those lines that will do great in the worst of conditions but if we get rain, it’s going to do great in more favorable conditions as well,” Carter said.
• Scorpio (hard red winter wheat): High yield potential in Southern and Eastern Washington. Excellent stripe rust resistance. Tolerance to low pH soils. Very good end-use quality and bread mixing properties, good protein content. Also resistant to Hessian fly.
“We often don’t talk about Hessian fly in winter wheat, we usually think of that as our spring wheat problem,” Carter said. But the insect pest can also cause a yield reduction in winter wheat.
That resistance will come in handy when following winter wheat with spring wheat, as Hessian fly can harbor in the winter wheat stubble, Carter said.
• Piranha CL+ (soft white winter wheat): High-yielding cultivar broadly adapted to Washington rainfall zones. Resistant to stripe rust, eyespot foot rot and snow mold. Very good cold tolerance and emergence. Very good end-use quality. Excellent tolerance to all applications of Beyond. Better performance in a low-input system than Sockeye CL+.
• Sockeye CL+ (soft white winter wheat): High-yielding cultivar broadly adapted to Washington and Oregon rainfall zones. Resistant to stripe rust, eyespot foot rot and snow mold. Very good cold tolerance and emergence. Excellent end-use quality. Excellent tolerance to applications of Beyond. Better performance in high-input systems than Piranha CL+.
The CL+ indicates Clearfield wheat varieties. The Clearfield system allows farmers to spray wheat with Beyond herbicide.
Carter chooses variety names to honor key figures in the wheat industry or his own personal history. For example, the variety Sequoia is named for the street where his wife grew up, while Scorpio honors his parents’ love of astronomy while he was growing up, he said.
“Devote was named after the devotion of all the wheat breeders preceding me in the industry,” he said.
The names also have to fit the variety, he said.
Carter is naming Clearfield varieties using a sea creature theme.
Carter recommended growers talk with their seed dealers about the availability of the varieties. Piranha CL+ is slated to be widely available in the fall of 2022.
Asked about possible cautions, Carter said his program hasn’t seen anything concerning.
“We’ve tested them long enough that we feel pretty comfortable with them and their performance,” he said.
Carter’s program targets high yield potential, disease resistance and end-use quality. On his wish list are traits that don’t get as much focus, such as soilborne wheat mosaic virus, Cephalosporium stripe rust and Hessian fly.
“We know (those) diseases are out there, but they’re really hard to screen for or a little more complex,” he said.