What's New in Wheat Varieties?

What's New in Wheat Varieties?

August 8, 2008

Every year as planting approaches, growers begin to think about whether they should continue planting the same varieties or replace some of them. Fortunately, they have many information resources to help them with their decision.

Photo of Overland wheat variety trial.
Wheat variety trial planted to Overland, a new hard red winter wheat adapted for Nebraska.
Variety Information

First and foremost is UNL Extension's Fall Seed Guide 2008 (EC 101) which is available at extension offices or online at http://varietytest.unl.edu/winterwheat/2008/Wheatbk08.pdf (4.9 MB). It includes results from multiple years of wheat variety trials conducted in Nebraska. In using this book, look at the three-year averages to find lines that have been thoroughly tested in your area. You may miss a new "hot" line that might perform well in a single year, but find one that's been proven over multiple years of testing. Given Nebraska's variable weather from year to year, three years of testing let's you see how the variety does under the diverse conditions for which Nebraska is famous.

The second place to look for information is online at the Virtual Wheat Tour Web site at http://www.panhandle.unl.edu/wheat/. It is currently being updated with the latest information and has the recommended set of varieties for each region listed and linked to their attributes.

Another important resource when considering a new variety is your certified seed dealer. Most University research is done in 4 x 8 foot and maybe 6 x 20 foot plots. To see how a variety performs on a larger scale, talk to the certified seed producer who will be the first one to grow varieties on a farm scale.

New Wheat Variety

Overland. From the cooperative USDA-ARS, University of Nebraska Wheat Improvement Program, there is one new variety that will be widely available this year. It is Husker Genetics Brand Overland (formerly NE01643). Overland is a tall, semi-dwarf with a short coleoptile similar to Millennium and Wesley. It has a mature plant height similar to Millennium. It is moderately late in maturity and has very good test weight characteristics. Overland has good to very good winter hardiness that is comparable to other winter wheat varieties adapted and commonly grown in Nebraska and South Dakota.

It is moderately resistant to leaf rust, stripe rust, and Hessian fly. It appears to have tolerance to wheat streak mosaic virus that is similar to Jagalene, 2137, and Millennium. It is moderately susceptible to stem rust, but in the natural stem infections of 2008, it appeared to have adequate resistance. It is susceptible to wheat soilborne mosaic virus, so it should not be planted early in areas where that disease is present. However, when planted late (for example after soybeans), it escapes the disease and performs well.

It is not recommended for irrigated production because it has moderate straw strength that may result in lodging under irrigation.

As a moderately late maturing variety, Overland should be considered as a possible replacement for Arapahoe, Culver, Millennium, and Wesley, although Millennium and Wesley have better stem rust resistance and end use quality. Overland is a hard red winter wheat developed cooperatively by the Nebraska Agriculture Experiment Station and the USDA-ARS and released in 2007 by the developing institutions and the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Non-complementary varieties include: Arapahoe, Culver, Millennium, Wahoo, and Niobrara.

Upcoming Varieties

Four new lines have been released and are under increase. Seed should be available for these "coming attractions" next year:


  • Camelot and Settler CL (a herbicide-tolerant wheat) which will be marketed through Nupride Genetic Network;
  • Mace (the first cultivar adapted to Nebraska that is truly resistant to the wheat streak mosaic virus) and
  • Anton (a specialty white wheat).

Stephen Baenziger
Professor and Wheat Breeder
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

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A field of corn.