PULLMAN, Wash. – Spring and winter wheat varieties developed by Washington State University scientists continue to dominate Washington’s growing wheat acreage, according to 2008 statistics recently released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Overall, total acreage planted in wheat in the state has increased by 250,000 acres in the past year. Winter wheat acreage grew by 80,000 acres to approximately 1.8 million; spring wheat grew by 170,000 acres to about 620,000.
“Washington wheat growers are among the leaders worldwide in quality and productivity,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “Their support of and partnership with WSU wheat breeders contributes significantly to that success.”
In particular, growers have adopted a new spring wheat variety, Louise, developed for release in 2007 by Kim Kidwell, WSU spring wheat breeder and associate dean of academic programs of CAHNRS. According to the statistics, Louise is the top variety of common spring wheat planted in the state, at 155,000 acres. That’s almost double the 80,800 acres planted with Louise in 2007, and represents one of the first times a spring wheat has ranked second in the overall wheat acreage in the state.
Eden, a white club spring wheat also developed by Kidwell, was the only white club variety reported, for a total of 7,500 acres. Hard red spring wheat variety Hollis, another variety developed by Kidwell, ranked in the top three varieties of hard red spring wheat planted in the state.
“The success of our breeding program is determined by how many acres of our varieties are grown by Washington wheat producers. It is very exciting for us to have released the number two wheat variety grown in the state,” Kidwell said.
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 that category.
“Bruehl, in particular, is looking good in this very dry year. It also is an excellent emerger, so it should continue as the number one club wheat next year as well,” Jones said.
Both Kidwell and Jones noted that there are several promising new varieties due to be released in time for next year’s planting, including Xerpha (soft white winter), Farnum (hard red winter), Whit (soft white spring), and Kelse (hard red spring).
“Although our recent releases are terrific, we truly believe that our best varieties may be yet to come,” said Kidwell.