Everest is new No. 1 wheat variety in Kansas
Everest, a variety released by Kansas State University in 2009, has soared into the No. 1 position in Kansas, according to Kansas Agricultural Statistic's 2013 "Wheat Varieties" report. The report lists the most widely planted varieties in the state, both overall and for each of the nine crop reporting districts, based on a survey of producers.
Of the nine districts in Kansas, Everest is now the most widely planted variety in all six of the central and eastern districts, its primary areas of adaptability. It also led the state overall in terms of acreage planted to winter wheat in the fall of 2012.
Everest was developed by Allan Fritz, K-State Research and Extension wheat breeder in Manhattan, who said the high-yielding variety provides producers in central and eastern Kansas with a strong combination of traits.
"It is more resistant to barley yellow dwarf than most varieties, as well as more resistant to Fusarium head scab than most varieties," Fritz said. "These two diseases can be serious problems in central and eastern Kansas, and there are few other varieties on the market with very good resistance to either one of those diseases."
Everest also has Hessian fly and leaf rust resistance, he said.
That unique combination of beneficial traits is the reason the acreage of Everest has increased so rapidly since its release, said Daryl Strouts, president of Kansas Wheat Alliance, the marketing association with first rights to K-State wheat varieties.
"It's unusual for a variety to become so popular just three years after its initial release. It takes a year or two just to build up a supply of certified seed for wheat producers to plant on their production fields. This essentially means that producers have been well pleased with what they've seen of Everest in their local areas throughout central and eastern Kansas," Strouts said.
The success of Everest and other varieties released by K-State in recent years is a tribute to the strength of the wheat breeding teams in Manhattan and Hays, said Gary Pierzynski, head of the agronomy department at K-State.
"There is a lot of competition now for acreage among wheat producers in Kansas, with several outstanding public and private breeding programs actively involved," Pierzynski said. "We are proud to know that producers value the work being done at K-State."
The wheat breeding program at K-State is on the cutting edge of science and technology, Fritz said.
"But we also keep our focus firmly on the end result, which is to produce varieties that producers in Kansas will want," he added. "We are gratified to see that Everest has met the need of so many producers in Kansas, and will keep trying to improve our program in the future to meet the changing needs of the Kansas wheat producer."
The K-State wheat breeding program that developed Everest and other varieties, including the latest release 1863, is funded in part by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Wheat Alliance and the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station.