Breeder targets intermediate rainfall zones
By Matthew Weaver
Washington State University’s newest soft white winter wheat variety performs well under stress, its breeder says.
WSU recently announced soft white wheat variety Jasper, aimed for 12-inch to 18-inch rainfall zones.
Jasper maintains its yield under significant drought or heat stress, coming in at the top of several regional trials in 2014, WSU winter wheat breeder Arron Carter said.
The variety has good resistance to stripe rust in the adult plant stage, but not in the seedling stage. Growers may have to apply a fungicide early during a bad stripe rust year, Carter said. It also has no snow mold resistance.
It hasn’t been confirmed officially, but Jasper also maintained a high yield potential in areas where cephalosporium stripe was occurring in 2014. It shows resistance to strawbreaker foot rot, or eyespot, in markers and greenhouse testing but demonstrated a susceptibility in field tests.
Jasper went through WSU’s breeding program for roughly 10 years.
The variety still performs well outside its target area, Carter said.
“It’s one of those lines that can do well in a lot of areas,” he said.
Last year, Carter’s variety Otto debuted as the fourth most-planted wheat variety in the state variety survey. Carter expects a similarly large adoption rate for Jasper, depending on the variety’s performance this year, citing good performance in 2013 and 2014.
Jasper has the potential for widespread adoption, said Marci Miller, owner and manager of Washington Genetics, LLC, in Ritzville, Wash., which partners with WSU to market wheat varieties.
The variety has a good heading date and plant height, with emergence similar to the popular variety Xerpha, Miller said.
“We have a lot of people interested in it. In fact, most people still call it 8169,” she said, referring to its variety number, WA8169. “It’s a good, strong variety.”
According to WSU, foundation seed for Jasper was planted last fall. Registered seed will be available in fall 2016 when seed dealers plant Jasper for production of certified seed. Certified seed will be widely available to wheat farmers in fall 2017.
Jasper is the 100th variety from WSU’s breeding program.
For future varieties, Carter is focusing on yield potential, developing stability across environments. Along with that will come good end-use quality and genetic resistance to regional diseases, he said.
Find WSU crop performance data from wheat variety trials online at http://variety.wsu.edu/2014/index.htm