The first — and one of the most important — decisions a wheat farmer makes every year is choosing which varieties to plant.
Picking a variety that has performed well in the past may be a good starting point, but experience shows that disease susceptibility changes over time, and wheat breeders continually are developing new varieties that offer better resistance, improved quality characteristics, and better adaptation to specific locations or growing conditions.
To make the decision a tad less daunting, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension each year develops a “Picks” list of top varieties, based on trial data.
“Our ongoing Picks criteria include a minimum of three years of data in AgriLife wheat variety trials across numerous annual locations within each region of Texas,” says Calvin Trostle, Extension agronomy specialist at Lubbock. “As we’ve noted before, the Picks list means that, given the data, these are the varieties we would choose to include and emphasize on our farm for wheat grain production.
Trostle and Jourdan Bell develop the Picks list for the High Plains region: Emi Kimura compiles the list for the Texas Rolling Plains, and Clark Neely, state small grains Extension specialist at College Station, develops the list for the Texas Blacklands (including Northeast Texas), South Texas, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
HIGH PLAINS PICKS
The High Plains Picks for the 2016/17 crop year include:
For full irrigation — TAM 113, TAM 114, TAM 304, WB Grainfield, Iba, and Winterhawk.
TAM 113 is resistant to both leaf and stripe rust, as is Iba. TAM 114 is moderately resistant (MR) to leaf rust and resistant (R) to stripe rust. WB Grainfield is moderately resistant to leaf rust and resistant to stripe rust. Winterhawk is moderately susceptible to leaf rust and moderately resistant to stripe rust.
For limited irrigation — High Plains Picks include TAM 111, TAM 112, TAM 113, TAM 114, WB Grainfield, Iba, T158, and Winterhawk.
TAM 111 and 112 are susceptible (S) to both rusts. T158 is moderately susceptible (MS) to leaf rust and moderately resistant to stripe rust.
Dryland Picks — TAM 111, TAM 112, TAM 113, TAM 114, WB Grainfield, IBA, T158 and Winterhawk.
VARIETIES IN PIPELINE
Trostle says several varieties are on a three-year “watch list,” and may become Picks in coming years. Gallagher variety, from Oklahoma State, is comparable to Iba and has moderate leaf rust resistance and is resistant to stripe rust, and Denali (S/MS) “generated discussion within AgriLife as possible Picks, though susceptibility to rusts is a concern.” Also on the watch list is PG Byrd for limited irrigation and dryland fields.
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Trostle says several varieties were culled from Picks this year. " We believe TAM 304 remains a viable choice for true high-input production systems with high irrigation, high nitrogen fertility applications, etc., where producers are shooting for yields at 100 bushels per acre or more. Duster and Hatcher were removed as Picks in 2015 for all production conditions, although no varieties were dropped in 2016.
“We initially decided to remove TAM 111 from our Picks list (removed from full irrigation in 2015) due to a modest decline in yields and susceptibility to leaf and stem rust,” Trostle says. “As long as producers understand that good management, including timely scouting for rusts and treatment if needed, is an important key for TAM 111, it remains a good choice.”
TAM 114 and WB Grainfield are new Picks for 2016/17 due to high yield, good disease resistance, and high test weight for TAM 114.
OTHER REGIONAL PICKS
Emi Kimura and Neely offer their Picks list for other Texas regions.
Texas Rolling Plains — TAM 304 (R/MR), Gallagher (MR/R), TAM 114, WB Cedar, WB 4458 and Greer (S/MR). On the Rolling Plains watch list are Bentley (MR/MR) from Oklahoma State and SY Grit (MR/R) from Syngenta.
Changes from the 2015/16 Rolling Plains Picks include dropping TAM 305 due to inconsistent yields across locations and adding WB 4458 and WB Cedar” Neely says.
Texas Blacklands — Farmers plant both hard and soft red winter wheat varieties. The hard red Picks include TAM 304 (R/MR), Gallagher (MR/R), Greer (S/MR), Iba (R/R), and WB Cedar (R/MR)
TAM 114 and WB 4458 are on the watch list. Neely says, on average, TAM 114 yielded similarly to TAM 304, but features higher test weight, which TAM 304 is often lacking. TAM 114 also shows great forage potential and should be considered if gazing is intended. We will continue to watch TAM 114 and WB 4458 in this region. Unfortunately, we have lost the majority of our location due to wet weather the past two years and it is difficult to make additional changes to our list with the limited data we have for 2015 and 2016.
BLACKLANDS SRW PICKS
Blacklands producers who plant soft red winter varieties should consider AGS 2055, Dyna-Gro 9012, Coker 9553 (MR/MR), and USG 3201 (MR/MR), according to Neely’s Picks.
USG 3895, AGS 2024 and AGS 2033 are on the watch list. Pioneer 25R40 and TV 8525 were dropped.
Dyna-Gro 9012 and AGS 2055 are new-comers to the Pick’s List in 2017. AGS 2055 ranked number one across all years and locations in the Blacklands since 2014 and possesses excellent leaf and stripe rust resistance. Dyna-Gro yields were also strong with intermediate levels of rust resistance.
The South Texas HRWW Picks in 2016/17 added TAM 401. Excessive spring rains prevented harvest from three of the main testing locations in 2016. Still on the list are TAM 304 (R/MR), TAM 305 (R/R), Duster (R/MS), and Billings (MR/MR). TAM 401 was added for its yield consistency, good disease resistance and low vernalization requirements. Of the HRWW Pick’s varieties listed for South Texas, TAM 304 had the most difficulty with vernalizing. Producers also need to be aware of pre-harvest sprouting issues with Billings during wet springs and stripe rust susceptibility in Duster.
TAM 114, Gallagher, Bentley and WB Cedar are on the watch list.
SRW varieties AGS 2035 and SY Cypress have been added to the Upper Gulf Coast region.
“Winter wheat cannot be successfully grown in southern regions of the state on a regular basis due to mild winters,” Neely says, “and therefore in the Uvalde, San Antonio and Houston areas and south, producers should consider a hard red spring wheat. We experienced a very mild winter this past season and many of our winter wheats had a difficult time vernalizing (producing a seed head). Our spring wheats do not have this issue when planted in late fall and early winter. Limited AgriLife data suggest that Expresso and Rockland have been the most consistent-yielding hard red spring wheats in south Texas.” The watch list includes LCS Trigger, WB 9518, and TX10D2265. TX10D2265 is a TAMU hard red spring experimental wheat line that is high yielding and should be released as a new variety for next year, but no name has been assigned yet.