Learn about promising wheat and barley varieties when WSU crop tours return

Dayton field trials
WSU trial plots at Dayton. University researchers will host crop variety tours once again in 2021.

Showing trials of hardy, productive small grain varieties in the field for the first time since 2019, WSU scientists will host modified crop tours this June and July.

Tours at 20 Washington locations begin Thursday, June 3, at Horse Heaven and Connell, and continue through July 8. Tours June 24 and 25 at Walla Walla and Eureka are held in partnership with Northwest Grain Growers and Oregon State University.

Funding to support WSU trials and tours is provided by Washington wheat growers and the Washington Grain Commission.

WSU variety trials offer a broad look at how different small grain cultivars perform across the varied environments of Eastern Washington.

With very dry conditions gripping much of the state, drought tolerance is at the forefront of grower interest in 2021, said Clark Neely, WSU Extension agronomist and cereal variety testing lead.

Neely said growers may also be interested in a number of promising herbicide-resistant varieties coming from WSU as well as the Varsity Idaho breeding program that show strong yield potential. Disease challenges are likely low this year, in part due to the dry weather.

WSU’s 2020 field days were recorded and offered virtually. Some tours this year will also be available on video.

“People are always welcome to visit the trials and do a self-guided tour,” Neely said. “However, we hope to conduct the in-person field days as close to ‘normal’ as possible this year,” while following health guidelines for safety and social distancing, which are subject to change.

Location maps, a tour schedule, and contacts for the WSU Cereal Variety Trials are available online at smallgrains.wsu.edu/variety.

Please check with each tour’s listed contact prior to the tour to verify the time, location, and agenda, or reach out to your local county growers’ association or co-sponsor.