Wheat: Recapping 2011 and Selecting Seed for the 2012 Crop - UNL CropWatch, August 18, 2011

Wheat: Recapping 2011 and Selecting Seed for the 2012 Crop - UNL CropWatch, August 18, 2011

Tan spot in wheat fusarium head blight

With early season rains residue-borne fungal diseases such as tan spot (left) and Fusarium head blight became a problem in wheat during the 2011 season.

August 18, 2011

A dry late summer and early fall in 2010 resulted in many uneven wheat stands throughout much of western Nebraska and some areas of eastern Nebraska. Many growers went into the winter with low expectations for the 2011 harvest. Ample spring rains, some may say excessive rains, turned the moisture situation around throughout the state. However, with the moisture came problems with residue-borne fungal diseases such as tan spot, Septoria tritici blotch, and Fusarium head blight.

Buying Wheat Seed?

See these UNL resources to identify the traits you need and the varieties that have them:

Severe drought conditions to our south limited movement of leaf and stripe rust spores into the state, which could have been disastrous had the spores arrived during our wet weather. Hail was the other unwanted scourge that rode in on the coattails of our above average rainfall.

Those fields missed by hail and disease issues, performed very well indeed. Average rainfed yields across the state generally were between 50 and 60 bu/ac, but ranged widely from 0 to more than 70 bu/ac. Test weights were generally good, but grain protein levels were generally lower than normal, typically falling between 9% and 12%.

Selecting Seed for Disease Resistance

While it is seldom wise to base next year’s production plans solely on this year’s results, wheat growers who saw a lot of disease issues may want to consider selecting wheat varieties with good resistance to the diseases of greatest interest. If plant emergence was a problem because of deep seeding to try and get seed in contact with moist soil, growers may wish to consider wheat varieties with a long coleoptile.

Compare Wheat Variety Traits 24/7 on the Virtual Wheat Tour

Whatever the coming season has in store, one of the most critical decisions a wheat grower will make is the choice of wheat varieties. One of the resources to use in making this decision is the Wheat Varieties Virtual Tour.

Wheat growers can see a list of wheat varieties recommended for their part of the state, read about a variety’s characteristics, and compare those characteristics to other varieties of interest. Growers also can see how different varieties performed in nearby wheat variety trials and locate a certified seed dealer who carries the varieties they are most interested in buying.

Wheat variety recommendations are based on three-year average yield data and specialists’ experience with the varieties in their regions of the state. Given the highly variable climate of Nebraska, we do not advise that growers make variety selections based on just one or two years of test results.

Which Variety Fits Your Bill

A link to the Winter Wheat Variety Selection Tool is on the front page of the Virtual Tour. This tool allows growers to narrow their search for a new wheat variety.

Growers are asked seven questions that help identify variety characteristics that are important to them. The tool then queries a database to identify those varieties that meet the selected criteria.

The Wheat Varieties Virtual Tour site is updated each year in early August with the results from the latest statewide variety testing program. This ensures that growers have access to the most current information on winter wheat varieties when making their seed purchases.

Selecting adapted and complimentary varieties is one of the most important decisions a wheat grower will make for this season. Make a more informed decision by visiting the Wheat Varieties Virtual Tour.

Additional on-line information on wheat varieties can be found at the UNL Variety Testing Page.

Drew Lyon
Extension Dryland Crops Specialist, Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff


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