August 12, 2008
Spring and winter wheat varieties developed by Washington State University scientists continue to dominate the state's growing wheat acreage.
"Washington wheat growers are among the leaders worldwide in quality and productivity," says Dan Bernardo, WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Nutritional Resources dean. "Their support of and partnership with WSU wheat breeders contributes significantly to that success."
Growers have adopted a new spring wheat variety, Louise, developed for release last year by Kim Kidwell, WSU spring wheat. According to new figures from the National Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Louise has already become the top variety of common spring wheat planted in the state, covering more than 150,000 acres.
Eden, a white club spring wheat also developed by Kidwell, was the only white club variety reported in the statistics, totaling 7,500 aces in Washington. Hollis, a hard red spring wheat – yet another Kidwell variety – ranks in the top three varieties of hard red spring wheat planted in Washington.
"The success of our breeding program is determined by how many acres of our varieties are grown by Washington wheat producers," Kidwell believes. "It is very exciting for us to have released the No. 2 wheat variety grown in the state."
In winter wheat, WSU professor Stephen Jones' Bauermeister variety topped the hard red winter wheat category with nearly 75,000 acres planted. His varieties of soft white club wheat – Bruehl and Edwin – held two of the top three spots in this category.
"Bruehl, in particular, is looking good in this very dry year," says Jones. "It is also an excellent emerger, so it should continue as the No. 1 club wheat next year as well.
He and Kidwell note that there are several promising new varieties due to be released in time for next year's planting, including Xerpha, a soft white winter; Farnum, a hard red winter; Witt, a soft white spring, and Kelse, a hard red spring.
"Although our recent releases are terrific, we truly believe that our best varieties may be yet to come," notes Kidwell.
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