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Several Winter Wheat Options Available

Now is the time of year when farmers are thinking about whether to plant winter wheat.

“There are several advantages to including winter wheat in your crop production plan,” says Dale Williams, director of the North Dakota State University Foundation Seedstocks Project. “One of the biggest benefits to growing winter wheat is that it typically yields higher than spring wheat.”

He adds that planting winter wheat can help producers spread out the workload, but they always face a risk of winter kill when planting in North Dakota.

“If winter kill is significant, however, it is not a total disaster because the producer can plant another crop during the next spring,” Williams says. “Winter wheat generally is priced less than spring wheat because it typically has lower protein than spring wheat, but variances in price are related to industry need. In years where high protein is plentiful, there can be little difference in what the producer will be paid when selling. If the decision is to plant winter wheat, there are some excellent public varieties to choose from.”

Here are some varieties to consider:

  • Decade – It was developed by the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and jointly released with the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 2010. It performs well in western North Dakota and has high yield potential. Decade has medium height and maturity. Its milling and baking characteristics are excellent.
  • Ideal – This variety was released from the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 2011. It has high yield potential and is adapted to the northern winter wheat production region. Ideal has good disease resistance to tan spot, leaf rust and stem rust.
  • Jerry – It was released from the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 2001. It is high yielding and has broad adaptation across North Dakota. It also is winter hardy and has good test weight and quality characteristics.
  • Darrell – This variety was developed by the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and jointly released with the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station in 2006. It is a medium-maturing wheat and has excellent yield potential. Darrell also has good resistance to stem rust.
  • Overland – It was developed by the Nebraska Agriculture Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, and jointly released with the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 2007. It has good test weight and straw strength, and medium height. Overland is moderately resistant to stripe and stem rusts and moderately resistant to leaf rust.

Average yields of Decade, Ideal, Jerry and Overland were high in the North Dakota hard red winter wheat variety trials, with three-year yield averages at Dickinson, Hettinger and Minot of 83.6, 82.1, 79.2 and 79.5 bushels per acre, respectively. All four of these public varieties topped 75 bushels per acre in 2014 at trials in Dickinson and Hettinger, with Decade even breaking three-digit yields, with 102.2 and 102.9 bushels per acre.

These varieties also performed very well in eastern North Dakota. Ideal came out on top in 2014 in the fungicide application trials, yielding 72.8 bushels per acre and competing against 19 other popular varieties. Decade, Ideal, Jerry and Overland broke the 80 bushels-per-acre mark in an eastern location in the trials.

Ideal, Jerry and Overland were among the leaders in test weight, with 57.4, 57.5 and 57.7 pounds per bushel, respectively, in 2014 variety trials.

Grain protein also is an important factor to consider when selecting a variety to grow. In the 2014 trials, Decade performed well in the protein arena, with 13.5 percent.

For more information on the performance of these and other varieties, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/varietytrials for NDSU variety trial results.

Source: Dale Williams and Ellen Crawford, North Dakota State University 

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