2015 Wheat Variety Performance & Recommendations (Heiniger & Cowger)

— Written By

2015 Wheat Variety Performance & Recommendations

Ron Heiniger • North Carolina State University
Christina Cowger • USDA-ARS

These recommendations are based on variety tests conducted in North Carolina in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Yield, test weight, and heading date are evaluated at every location. Pest resistance information is updated whenever possible or when the pest pressure makes it feasible to evaluate resistance. These rankings are not always the same as those reported in the OVT, because 1) additional variety tests may be used in addition to the OVT, and 2) some locations used in the OVT may be excluded.

Plant At Least Three Varieties: Always try to select at least three varieties to plant. This minimizes the risk of selecting a variety that may lack resistance to a particular pest or may flower at a time when weather conditions are not optimal. The “Above-Average Yielding” varieties are good first choices. However, even the “Average Yielding Varieties” are likely to produce acceptable yields. To help with disease management, make sure you note which varieties you plant in each field.

Avoid Spring Freeze Damage: Spring freeze damage is often a problem in North Carolina and result in unacceptable loss in yield potential. Early-heading varieties are the most likely to be damaged by spring freeze. To reduce the risk of yield loss due to freeze damage, plant no more than one early-heading variety and at least one late-heading variety. Late-heading varieties are best when planted early and should be the first varieties planted. Early-heading varieties should be planted on the late side of the optimum planting period, and should be the last varieties planted.

Reduce the Risk of Head Scab: In some parts of North Carolina, head scab was a significant disease problem in 2015 resulting in yield losses, low test weight, and rejection of grain at the buying station due to high vomitoxin (DON) levels. This disease is one of the major problems that small grain growers must try to avoid. The best way to minimize risk is to plant varieties rated “MR” to head scab (Table 1). If weather conditions in the spring favor scab, fungicides may be recommended at flowering. However, even if selected, timed and applied correctly, fungicides are not 100% effective. They can only reduce scab damage, not eliminate it. Therefore, planting varieties rated “MR” to scab is the first and most important step in managing this threat. See www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/head-scab.html for more information.

Maximize Yield By Managing Powdery Mildew or Leaf Rust: Research at NCSU has shown that when powdery mildew or rust develops, the combination of varieties rated “R” or “MR” for these diseases and a fungicide application most often leads to the highest yield. These diseases are less common in the Piedmont region, but in other parts of the state, selecting varieties with resistance to powdery mildew and rust is always a good idea. See www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu/video-library.html for more information about these diseases.

Are Soil Virus Diseases Important? In years with wet, cool weather and in fields with a history of soil viral diseases, yields can be reduced by 14% or more when a variety rated “S” for soil-borne mosaic or spindle-streak virus is used compared to one rated “MR.” Once a field has a history of soil virus problems, it is important to plant varieties rated “MR” or “R” for that particular virus. There are no fungicides or other treatments that can be used to treat soil viruses. Therefore, when you have a soil virus, variety selection is your only defense against yield loss.

More Information on Variety Selection or Disease Management: Check the Small Grain Production Guide, the small grain production website (www.smallgrains.ncsu.edu), or call your local county extension office. Further information about variety characteristics such as plant height or local variety performance can be found at www.ncovt.com.

Click here for the PDF version and the 2014 & 2015 wheat variety performance information: WheatVarietySelection2015