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WSU Varieties Dominate Washington Wheat Acreage

PULLMAN, Wash. – Spring and winter wheat varieties developed by Washington State University scientists top the list of those grown in the state, according to statistics recently released by the Washington Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Spring wheat is estimated at 450,000 acres, and winter wheat is estimated at 1.8 million acres, according to the report. The four most widely grown winter wheat varieties in the state include the soft white common varieties of Eltan and Madsen, a soft white club variety named Bruehl, and Bauermeister, a hard red variety. WSU released all four varieties; Stephen Jones, WSU winter wheat breeder, developed and released Bruehl and Bauermeister.

Spring wheat varieties developed at WSU also gained ground.

Louise, a soft white common spring wheat variety, surpassed Alpowa as the spring wheat acreage leader in the state. Eden, a spring club from WSU, ranked forth in the soft white spring variety in commercial production, and Scarlet, Hollis and Tara 2002 collectively accounted for nearly 20 percent of the hard red spring wheat acreage. Kim Kidwell, WSU spring wheat breeder, developed and released all of those, except Alpowa.

“This 2007 acreage data is very promising,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “WSU varieties are gaining market share in all major classes, and new varieties with improved genetics are replacing older varieties. I am particularly impressed with the rapid increase of acreage in Stephen Jones’ Bauermeister variety. With another promising variety in the pipeline in Xerpha, WSU winter wheat varieties should continue to gain market share into the future.”

Jones noted that old wheat varieties, such as Tubbs, are losing acreage at about 25 percent per year and are being replaced by the new ones, “just as it is supposed to work,” he said.

Kidwell said, “I’m thrilled that our new lines are doing so well in commercial production.”

At least four new varieties with a variety of improved characteristics are scheduled to be released by WSU in spring 2008. They include:

  • Xerpha, a soft white winter wheat, developed by Jones that has topped statewide yield trials for the past two years
  • Washington 7975, a hard red winter variety, developed by Jones, Kidwell and Kim Campbell, a USDA-Agricultural Research Service scientist based at WSU. It is a tall, late-maturing variety with excellent yield potential, end-use quality and high grain protein content
  • Washington 8008, a soft white spring wheat developed by Kidwell with adult plant resistance to stripe rust, Hessian fly resistance and high yield potential in high rainfall areas
  • Washington 7954, a high yielding hard red spring wheat developed by Kidwell, that has exceptionally high grain protein content targeted for production in intermediate to high rainfall zones.

More information about WSU’s wheat variety testing program is available at http://variety.wsu.edu/.

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