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Wheat, triticale, winter barley add to list of choices

Texas AgriLife Extension state small-grains specialist Robert Duncan of College Station told a capacity crowd at the biannual Big Country Wheat Conference in Abilene that producers should decide if making grain or forage is their main goal — and even then, not placing their hopes all on one variety.

“And don’t hinge all your wheat production on a single year of data,” Duncan added.

A variety may perform well in one particular place, but not at others. But if a grain variety excels at several locations, it indicates the variety is something to consider.

A prime example in 2009-10 Wheat Variety Trials on Texas Rolling Plains was the Duster variety from Oklahoma State University.

Duncan noted Duster was the overall No. 1 wheat variety in a yield study of eight different locations. What’s more, Duster was the top variety grown in seven of the eight trial locations.

Duster was followed by Billings, also from OSU, and Greer from AgriPro as the top three for all eight locations.

In Abilene alone, Greer averaged 55.5 bushels per acre as the No. 1 yielding wheat there. Billings was close behind with 54.6 bushels.

Duncan pointed out that Jackpot, from AgriPro, averaged 55.7 bushels per acre at Chillicothe, Texas, over three years, demonstrating the importance of looking at several years’ data.

At Vernon, the Fannin variety from AgriPro averaged an impressive 63.9 bushels per acre in 2010.

In Oklahoma, Duster also was No. 1 in 2009-10 trials at four of nine trials. Jackpot was tops at El Reno.

Forage potential

But if winter wheat prices slip back into the doldrums — and especially if cattle prices remain strong — some producers may be looking at winter wheat more for winter forage than grain harvest.

David Drake, Extension agronomist, San Angelo, noted that forage might be wheat, triticale or winter barley.

In the 2009-10 Small Grains Forage Trial, Fannin wheat showed it also could produce forage. Fannin yielded 7,140 pounds per acre in dryland trials at Millersview, Texas, to lead the pack.

Tambar 501 winter barley from Texas A&M University was right behind at 6,995 pounds.

For 2009-10 irrigated trials, the Tambar 501 winter barley was No. 1 in forage at Menard, Texas, with 12,300 pounds per acre.

From that same irrigated trial, RSI 348 beardless triticale was just behind with 12,255 pounds, while coming in close third was AGRFS, another triticale variety, with total forage of 12,037 pounds per acre.

As a hard red winter wheat, TAM 203 came in fourth for overall forage, but was best among the wheat varieties at that irrigated trial with 11,430 pounds.

Planting date

Extension entomologist Chris Sansone suggested waiting until October to plant winter wheat — into a clean field — to eliminate the bridge for insect pests, such as early generations of aphids, white grubs, Hessian flies and greenbugs. Just a few aphids can spread barley yellow dwarf virus.

“Early planting likely will mean more diseases and insect pests,” Sansone said. “I just can’t see anything gained by planting wheat in September.”

Duster and Coronado wheat varieties seem to have some resistance to the Hessian fly.

Duncan said TAM 111 wheat shows resistance to stripe rust but has some susceptibility to leaf rust.

So far, Fannin and Doans wheat varieties have shown resistance to both stripe rust and leaf rust.

David Holubec, a Melvin, Texas, wheat grower, agrees with Sansone. Holubec said waiting until Oct. 1 to plant winter wheat definitely has lessened his problems with the Hessian fly. He reinforces that by planting resistant varieties.

Paul Minzenmayer, a Runnels County producer, wants both forage and grain. Minzenmayer said he plants wheat for stocker cattle grazing in September, while he waits until October to plant other wheat for grain.

Both Holubec and Minzenmayer said they will plant as much winter wheat for this new 2010-11 season as they did last season.

Minzenmayer plants cotton into wheat stubble, and he emphasized wheat is extremely important as a rotation crop to deal with cotton root rot prevalent in his region.

You can see Texas A&M wheat trials location by location at varietytesting.
tamu.edu/wheat/index.htm,
or Oklahoma State variety test results at all locations at www.wheat.okstate.edu.

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hardworking wheat: Robert Duncan, Texas AgriLife Extension statewide small-grains specialist, College Station, examines some Fannin wheat near Abilene in 2010. Fannin has demonstrated it can produce both good grain and forage yields, and is resistant to both stripe rust and leaf rust.

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GET IT IN: Runnels County, Texas, producer Paul Minzenmayer (left) plants winter wheat in mid-September to provide forage for cattle, but waits until October to plant other wheat fields for grain. David Holubec, a Melvin, Texas, grower, always waits until October to plant winter wheat, which lessens his problems with the Hessian fly.

This article published in the October, 2010 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.