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New high-yield disease-resistant wheat

FAYETTEVILLE Ark. — Arkansas farmers are getting their first opportunity to grow a new wheat variety from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture that combines high yields with resistance to common wheat diseases.

The wheat is called Pat after Pat Sullivan, first president of the Arkansas Association of Wheat Growers, said Robert Bacon, small grains breeder for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

"Pat averaged 76.6 bushels per acre in three years of variety testing in plots around the state, notably better than the state average of about 50 bushels an acre," Bacon said. "It has good winter-hardiness and good straw strength. It's resistant to soilborne wheat mosaic, wheat spindle streak mosaic, and stripe rust, and it is moderately resistant to leaf rust.

"Quality test results for Pat indicate excellent milling and baking characteristics," he said.

Pat seed was available to producers for the first time last fall.

"Arkansas is one of the leading producers of soft red winter wheat," Bacon said. "It's an essential part of double-cropping systems with soybeans. It provides the cash flow needed to purchase inputs for soybeans."

"Producers have increased profits from wheat by using higher-yielding varieties and fewer inputs," Bacon said. "Unfortunately, many high-yield wheat varieties do not have disease resistance."

Scientists in UA's small grains breeding program have been working to develop high-yield varieties with disease resistance for 15 years, he said. "This combination in Pat will give high yields and reduced cost for fungicides, which should translate into higher profits for Arkansas wheat producers."

Fred Miller is science editor for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. e-mail: [email protected]

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