Texas AgriLife offers 'Picks' list on wheat varieties for High Plains producers
Sorting through data from numerous research trial sites can be daunting for a wheat producer, so once again Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are offering their "picks" to help simplify the process, officials said.
"Although the 2012 wheat harvest had its ups and downs, the Texas AgriLife wheat program continues to deliver irrigated and dryland region-wide results to bolster producers' wheat variety selection for 2012 fall planting," said Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock.
"The breeding and testing program has long been a focal point of Texas AgriLife efforts across the state to bring improved wheat varieties and science-based results to Texas producers," said Jackie Rudd, Ph.D., AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Amarillo. The work is funded in part by support from the Texas Wheat Producers Board.
The trials include popular varieties grown in Texas and new "up and coming" varieties from university and private breeding programs that market wheat in Texas, Rudd said.
"These trials are the face of the program that producers see," Trostle said. "However, the heart of the program is the exhaustive breeding program behind variety trials that enables us to develop and test new lines with improved yield, disease resistance, and milling and baking qualities."
For 2012, he said, the reporting of the annual wheat variety trial results is being updated to include multi-location, four-year averages across the region.
"Do you want to know what dryland TAM 112 yield and test weight averages were across 17 locations over three years?" Trostle said. "We have that number for you: 36.7 bushels per acre, the second highest, and 59.7 pounds per bushel, which you can compare to other varieties with the same amount of data."
Something offered each year in the multi-year reporting process is the Texas AgriLife "picks" for full irrigation, limited irrigation and dryland production in the Texas High Plains, he said.
This approach was popularized by Brent Bean, Ph.D., former AgriLife Extension agronomist in Amarillo, more than 10 years ago, Trostle said, "and this approach remains a focal point of our wheat variety summary for producers."
"Based on the data we have, these are the varieties I would most want to plant on my farm," he said.
The 2012 Picks list was updated by both Trostle and Rudd.
"We review a minimum of three years of data across multiple sites, and we factor in desirable traits like leaf or stripe rust resistance and stand-ability," Rudd said.
"Our wheat variety picks do not normally change much from one year to the next, which is to be expected when using multi-year data," Trostle said. "But newer varieties push their way onto the list replacing common pick varieties from years past whose performance may have tailed off."
For 2012, wheat varieties for the High Plains include:
--TAM 111, TAM 113, Hatcher, Duster and Winterhawk for all conditions, full irrigation to dryland.
--Specific for particular production conditions are: TAM 112 for limited irrigation and dryland--stand-ability can be an issue in full irrigation; TAM 304 for full irrigation with high inputs; and Endurance on dryland.
"When a variety is selected as a pick for all production conditions, this speaks well of that variety for its broad adaptation," Trostle said.
TAM 113 and Winterhawk are new additions in 2012. TAM 113 has broad adaptation and improved leaf--and stripe-rust resistance compared to other varieties, Rudd said.
Winterhawk has been a top three-year yielder in both irrigated and dryland production averaged across 17 sites, but Rudd said this variety is susceptible to stem rust, to which most other varieties are resistant.
Trostle suggested that because of this, producers interested in Winterhawk should limit it to no more than 25 percent of their total acreage.
An additional means of comparing wheat performance is averaging the annual yields of pick versus non-pick wheats over time, the two said.
For the three-year harvest period of 2010 to 2012, irrigated picks averaged 68.9 bushels per acre compared to 62.5 bushels per acre for non-picks, an 11 percent yield advantage, Trostle said. The same pick varieties also average 1.2 bushels per acre higher in test weight. The same comparison in dryland finds a 3.4 bushel per acre, or 10 percent increase, for dryland wheat pick varieties vs. non-picks.
Trostle said there is no surprise in these numbers.
"We would have guessed that this might be the case, but prior to 2012 we didn't tabulate the data in this manner," he said. "It is further evidence that producers should consider including a mix of the wheat picks as part of their wheat farming practices."
Producers may view the full 2012 annual and multi-year wheat variety report at http://amarillo.tamu.edu/amarillo-center-programs/agronomy/wheat-publications. In addition to further discussion of wheat varieties and their performance, AgriLife Extension experts provide explanations for recent additions and deletions of wheat varieties from the picks list.
Producers with further questions about their wheat production may contact Trostle at 806-746-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.