Results of side-by-side trials for 40 wheat varieties are posted online at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis. Farmers can use the findings as they make planting decisions for the upcoming growing season.
“This year, we tried to beef up our testing program with more varieties,” said Rex Kirksey, superintendent of NMSU's science centers at Tucumcari and Clovis. “We had good yields for the irrigated crops, but the dryland acreage wasn't as productive because of the long dry spell we had in the spring.”
The annual performance tests in Clovis are part of an ongoing effort to provide farmers with unbiased data on yield and quality of wheat varieties. In a typical variety trial, seed companies from across the nation supply varieties they believe are best suited to New Mexico's growing conditions.
Sample varieties are planted in side-by-side experimental plots where the plants receive identical irrigation, fertilizer and herbicide applications, Kirksey said. “That way area producers can see how some of the standards traditionally grown in the area compare against some of the newer releases,” he said.
Yields are evaluated at harvest. The wheat crop is harvested using a small plot combine, and those harvested weights are converted to bushels per acre equivalents. In addition, NMSU researchers perform moisture content and bushel weight evaluations on the harvested wheat.
The science center staff does not recommend specific varieties recommendations, Kirksey said. Information is presented on the highest to lowest yields, so that producers can factor it in as they make planting decisions, he said.
In addition to wheat data, information on the science center's spring- and fall-planted forage trials is available on the university's Web site. Results can be viewed by going directly to http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/variety_trials/ . The report is available online in Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format, or PDF format, so that users can print their own copies. For more information or questions about the performance test, contact Kirksey at (505) 985-2292.