Several new wheat varieties to be made available soon

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

Stripe rust and new wheat varieties will take the spotlight during the upcoming crop tour season.

Washington State University recently unveiled its schedule of tours, which start May 30.

"Maybe we're going to talk more about how much stripe rust there's not this year, compared to how much there is," said Stephen Guy, WSU extension specialist and professor.

Forecasts call for a moderate amount of stripe rust compared to previous years, although that could change, he said.

"I think this year it's going to be critical for growers to consider when they apply fungicides," he said. "Certainly they don't want to waste money applying fungicides if they don't have to. It's going to be a more finely tuned question whether fungicides are going to be needed or not this year."

The university is also evaluating pulse crops in several trials for the second year, Guy said.

WSU's winter wheat breeding program is releasing the soft white variety Otto, which will target the disease strawbreaker, an issue in dryland zones. Otto is derived from Eltan, which is adapted to dry areas, and essentially resistant to strawbreaker, Guy said.

Otto is slated for release to farmers in the fall of 2013.

A two-gene variety wheat resistant to the herbicide imidazolinone will be included in the tours. It's likely to be released next year, Guy said, and also shows promise for the dry regions.

"The new stuff that's coming is really quite exciting," he said.

USDA Agricultural Research Service wheat breeder Kim Campbell has new soft white winter wheat varieties ARS Amber and ARS Selbu and new club wheats ARS Chrystal and ARS Crescent.

Amber and Selbu have good stripe rust resistance, Campbell said. Amber has shown tolerance to acidic soils and fusarium crown rot. Selbu has high test weight and tolerance for foot rot. Crescent is targeted for drier areas and Chrystal for intermediate to higher rainfall areas.

All but Selbu are approved for release by WSU's cereal variety release committee, Campbell said. Amber and Crescent will be available as foundation seed in the fall of 2012, while Selbu and Chrystal will be available as foundation seed in the fall of 2013.

Guy said winter cereal seed guides will be available at the field tours.

Online

See WSU's tour schedule online at http://variety.wsu.edu/tours/index.html

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