Wheat plot tour discusses varieties, drought
By Kylene Scott
“My gosh, it’s looking pretty darn good. That’s kind of unbelievable. You guys must be living right.”
That’s what Kansas State University Extension Specialist, Crop Production, Jim Shroyer said about the wheat in the Ford County Extension’s wheat plot south of Offerle, Kansas, May 15.
Planted Oct. 26, cooperators estimated the plot had received between 2 and 3 inches of moisture. The resulting wheat, Shroyer said, looked pretty good compared to other county plots he had been looking at during mid-May.
“We’ve been seeing some real ugly looking wheat the last few days,” Shroyer said. “I made a quick run after the Meade County plot west and came back here and my goodness. There’s several fields, multiple fields in this section that wouldn’t yield as much as this whole quarter does.”
Eleven varieties were housed in the Ford County plot, and included the following: Byrd, WB Grainfield, LCS Mint, Denali, TAM 111, TAM 112, Winterhawk, Fuller, Endurance, Everest, and T-158.
Byrd is supposed to have good drought tolerance, good straw strength, but is not resistant to mites.
“It’s susceptible to leaf rust, stripe rust, stem rust. Not real great on wheat streak mosaic,” Shroyer said.
Byrd is not grown much in and around Ford County, he said, but suggested farmers keep an eye on it.
Grainfield is a new variety from WestBred. Shroyer said it’s a medium/late maturity that has pretty good leaf rust/stripe rust resistance. Typically it is medium tall and medium length.
“It’s going to be adapted to this area of the state and kind of to the northwest,” Shroyer said. “Supposed to be good on drought. This looks pretty good here.”
Seed was limited for WB Grainfield last fall, so there’s not a lot around. He said WestBred has a couple other varieties coming out soon.
LCS Mint comes from French-owned Lima Grains, and is a medium-to-tall variety that tends to range in medium to late maturity. Shroyer said it’s “not real great on stem rust, and we don’t know the reaction on wheat streak.”
Mint had a good year in the 2013 K-State tests in central and western Kansas. It has excellent drought tolerance and is also resistant to the new race of stripe rust.
Denali was one of the later varieties in the plot, and really good on stem rust, Shroyer said. It’s weaker on leaf rust, wheat streak mosaic and stripe rust.
“I personally I think it’s because of it’s lateness,” Shroyer said. “I think we may be just a tad too far south for this variety. I think it’s more adapted to that northwest corner. But I guess the proof is in the pudding so to speak if it does well.”
Denali is supposed to have good drought tolerance as well.
“I don’t think it likes the heat. We’ve seen it south of here and east, looking pretty tough,” Shroyer said.
TAM 111, TAM 112 and Winterhawk all yield very well, Shroyer said, and they are mostly medium maturities. Winterhawk is a taller variety but manages to have good straw strength. TAM 112, however, doesn’t have the straw strength and doesn’t do well with insect pressure.
“These are probably my three picks for drought tolerance,” Shroyer said. “TAM 112 does not have good straw strength and Hessian fly thinks it’s candy. If you’re going to find Hessian fly in a field go to this one first. Because it’s kind of like a magnet.”
TAM 111 is the number one wheat in the state, but is mostly grown west of Great Bend, Kansas.
“TAM 11 is good on stem rust, but this is where I’m going to say it doesn’t have anything going for it because it’s susceptible to about everything else,” Shroyer said. “(It’s a) good dryland wheat; good drought tolerance and the pedigree on that is TAM 107. We all remember TAM 107 and Centaur Nebraska wheat.”
For the western part of the state, Shroyer sticks with TAM 111, TAM 112 and Winterhawk.
“Anyway, these three are my favorites on drought tolerance and performance in the western part of the state,” he said. “Winterhawk, like I said, it’s tallish and has good straw strength for its height. It’s a real poser for stem rust.”
Shroyer called Fuller a plow horse variety that reminds him of Jagger.
“It’s a Jagger type, so it’s lost its leaf/stripe rust resistance,” he said. “If you haven’t grown it in the past, this variety kind of took over Overley’s place because Overley shattered. Fuller doesn’t shatter.”
Endurance is one of Oklahoma State University’s dual-purpose varieties, and Shroyer said OSU is coming out with a few replacements for Endurance and Duster.
“I call them the red dirt varieties,” Shroyer said. “You get down around the Oklahoma border and these shine when they graze. Intermediate on almost all the diseases. Intermediate to moderately susceptible. I give it a C minus.”
Everest is a slower maturing variety, which has trouble catching up.
“If it doesn’t tiller well, and get well established and tiller in the fall, it never will,” Shroyer said. “So it’s really dependent upon how it gets going. And if it has a bad fall, just might as well kiss it goodbye. It’ll never catch up.”
Erick DeWolf, K-State associate professor, plant pathology, said Everest has a pretty strong disease resistance package.
“Its strength has been in leaf rust and barley yellow dwarf in particular,” DeWolf said. “So the same years that Fuller was really struggling with its barley yellow dwarf susceptibility and a lot of varieties were—I think Everest was really strong. I think that’s part of what allowed Everest to look really durable in a lot of years and really have some great years in recent years.”
Later in the tour, DeWolf explained stem rust susceptibility in some of the varieties.
“Some of the older farmers that had experienced stem rust before maybe call it black rust,” DeWolf said. “Stem rust can affect not only the stem, the leave sheath, the leaves—it’s basically all the above parts of the plant.”
Helping the varieties survive disease has been quite a process.
“We’ve controlled stem rust for 20 some years with our genetic resistance. The disease really isn’t around anymore,” DeWolf said. “People have forgot about it, we have a new generation of breeders.”
There are some varieties that have serious susceptibility to stem rust, and taking considerable acres down. DeWolf said some varieties include Winterhawk and T-158.
“So it’s my job to monitor those kind of things. I just think you need to go into that with your eyes open,” he said.
Shroyer pointed out that stem rust often arrives late; maybe even after the application window for fungicides has passed. DeWolf agreed.
“Really going to have to pay attention to what’s happening through the region, maybe we can still anticipate it with fungicides,” DeWolf said.
Disease pressure has been low this year, DeWolf said.
“Starting to get depressed here,” he said. “I spend a lot of time trying to rate plots, but so far I’ve yet to find a single leaf in a stripe rust or a leaf rust.”
DeWolf has gotten a few reports of wheat streak mosaic, and a number of varieties are surviving it.
“It survives in volunteer wheat and is spread by the wheat curl mite,” DeWolf said. “So if we do get into situation this year, we have some drought stress wheat that maybe has smaller kernels. We could have smaller kernels left on the soil and create a higher risk of volunteer during the summer months if we do have a situation where we do have a lot of rain.”
DeWolf said to remember to have at least a two-week break between that volunteer wheat and when new wheat emerges.
“I think it’s OK to leave it for a little while in the summer,” he said. “If you want to graze it—if your looking for some forage or to hold that ground down, but it is important to try and have a break in that green bridge in that volunteer before your new wheat begins to emerge.”
DeWolf was questioned about seed treatments and their effectiveness. In his research, he’s focused on fungicides, and most recently looked at some of the insecticide seed treatments for barley yellow dwarf control.
“As far as fungicide use—where I see the seed treatments having a role is controlling some seed borne diseases,” he said. “Loose smut or common bunt, they’re some real problems in the state unfortunately with the common bunt in particular.”
The seed treatments can play a role with producers, particularly with seed producers or those wanting to keep a variety around for an extended period of time.
“I think part of what’s going on there with the small yield response,” he said. “We often see kind of on average a fairly small yield response if any at all to both seed treatment fungicide and insecticides is that wheat has a tremendous ability to compensate for stand loss.”
Unlike some other plants, wheat doesn’t have those kind of tillering capacity. For example, if up to 1/4 to 1/3 of the stand was lost; it may not be as noticeable if it’s throughout the field equally.
“So that ability for your plants to stool out in the fall covers up some of those inabilities and those little seedling diseases or losses to young plants,” DeWolf said. “I think the rationale for that late planting or early planting type of situation is anything that’s going to be stressing your wheat where you might be wanting to use a higher seeding rate anyway, with a late planted wheat because you reduced your tillering capacity. Those are situations where every plant counts a little bit more and those are where we may see a little larger response.”
Kylene Scott can be reached by phone at 620-227-1804 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.