When selecting wheat seed: A mix of varieties may bring optimal success

When buying seed, wheat producers may want to choose a mix of varieties for planting their fall crop, said a Texas Cooperative Extension specialist.

“Keep in mind that variety performance will vary from year to year,” said Brent Bean, Extension agronomist in Amarillo, Texas. “For this reason, it is a good idea to plant more than one variety. We are beginning to look at planting three varieties in a blend.”

The past two years have been extremely different, Bean said, with the 2004-05 crop having excellent moisture throughout most of the wheat season, resulting in good yields in spite of an unprecedented outbreak of stripe rust.

The 2005-06 growing season was just the opposite. “We started with a dry fall and it only got drier as the season progressed,” Bean said. “As a result, many dryland fields were complete failures, including some of our dryland wheat variety trials.”

The past season had its share of greenbug and Russian wheat aphid infestations and one of the worst outbreaks of wheat streak mosaic and the High Plains disease, he said.

Varieties that have consistently performed well over the years under a wide range of conditions include Dumas, TAM 111 and Jagalene, regardless of whether it is irrigated or dryland, Bean said. Cutter and TAM 110 have also topped the dryland varieties list. “Unlike last year, where TAM 111 was clearly the best variety, no one variety dominated the trials this year,” he said.

However, in the irrigated trials several varieties consistently ranked in the top 20 percent across locations, including AP502 CL, Texas experimental entries 3232 and 1117, Duster, Hatcher, TAM 112, TAM 111, and Keota, Bean said.

AP502 CL is a Clearfield wheat, which means Beyond herbicide can be used for grass control, he said. The variety is similar to TAM 110, with greenbug tolerance, and seems occasionally to yield higher.

The Texas experimental 3232, to be released in 2007, has good leaf rust and moderate stripe rust tolerance, Bean said. It has been targeted for planting in the Blackland area, but has performed well in the Panhandle the last two years.

Texas Experimental 1117 is a later maturing variety targeted more for grazing than grain production, he said. However, based on grain yield the last two years, “We may want to reconsider it for grain.”

TAM 112 is greenbug tolerant and generally yields more than TAM 110 by 2 bushels, Bean said. It should be planted as a dryland or limited-irrigation wheat.

Hatcher was released by Colorado State in 2005, and Duster is an experimental variety from Oklahoma State University, he said.

“We have very little data on these two varieties in Texas, but we will want to follow them closely next year,” Bean said. Keota is a 2005 Westbred Company release with stripe and leaf rust resistance. It also has possible tolerance to wheat streak mosaic virus.

Although TAM 111 did not have the outstanding year in experimental trials it had in 2005, it still ranked in the top 20 percent in three out of seven locations this year, Bean said Only three dryland trials were harvested this year, he said. In these trials, TAM 112 was the top yielding variety at all three locations. TAM 111 also yielded in the top 20 percent at all three locations.

Other varieties in the irrigated trials that yielded well were Hatcher and Duster, Bean. Jagalene and Cutter also yielded in the top 20 percent at the Bushland and Claude locations and over the years have been consistently high yielding varieties in dryland trials.

For a brief discussion of each variety, go to: http://amarillo.tamu.edu

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