Monday, August 24, 2009

Wheat Varieties - Selecting for the Current Conditions

Selecting a variety best suited for your location, field conditions and production system is a yearly challenge for growers. Not very many years ago, most times for a soft white winter wheat – Stephens was the hands-down favorite. Now we have many more choices of both public and private varieties. Selecting the right variety is about minimizing your risk from crop diseases and stress why maximizing one’s yield potential.

Last fall all four locations of the Umatilla County Variety Drill Strip Trials were seeded into dry conditions. The seeding dates were from October 1st to October 20th. These dry conditions continued into late October and plants were slow to germinate and went into the winter fairly small. Given these conditions, it was Goetze that preformed well. Goetze was the highest yielding at three sites (Straughan, Woodward, and CTUIR).

Goetze is a newer release from OSU and is adaptable for our area but has a risk for damage from cold temperatures. Goetze is a wheat that needs little or no chilling for to initiate flowering. Testing suggests that it is similar to the variety Gene. For additional information on Goetze, see OSU publication – EM8957-e found online at

For some areas of the county, this year may present an opportunity to seed early. Early seeding can result in higher yields when seedbed moisture is adequate. However, crop diseases such as Cephalosporium stripe, strawbreaker (eyespot) footrot, Fusarium crown rot, and Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus can be problems. Variety seeding date studies conducted by OSU Cereal Specialist, Mike Flowers, in 2006 and 2007, show that Tubbs06 and ORCF -102 may be the better choice for early seeding. These varieties have a good disease resistance package along with cold tolerance to maximize yield.

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