You’re on Xerpha Turf
For the third year in a row, the soft white winter wheat variety known as Xerpha has produced the highest yield of winter wheat in the state. With wheat prices at record highs, the significant increase in yield could amount to a multi-million-dollar increase for the Washington wheat industry.
WSU Professor Stephen Jones, the geneticist who leads WSU’s winter wheat breeding program, and Associate Wheat Breeder Steve Lyon began field testing Xerpha in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, and now 2008, Xerpha was the highest yielding variety in every precipitation zone in the WSU Extension Cereal Variety Testing Program where it was compared with 50 other varieties, breeding lines and varietal blends from 10 other programs at 19 locations.
“The success and rapid breeding results of Xerpha is a testament to the support of Washington wheat producers, not only for this project, but also for the lab and greenhouse component of the WSU Winter Wheat Breeding Program,” said Jones.
AgWeatherNet Hits Wild, Wild West
Westside agricultural producers are now better able to access timely weather information, thanks to the addition of new monitoring stations to Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet system.
WSU’s AgWeatherNet team, based at the university’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Wash., recently installed a new monitoring station at 21 Acres Farm near Woodinville in King County. New stations also have been installed in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island, Grays Harbor, Clark and Skamania counties.
The stations are equipped with sensors for monitoring and recording air temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, solar radiation, leaf wetness, soil temperature and moisture to a depth of eight inches, and rainfall.
The AgWeatherNet system provides free online public access to the raw weather data derived from the network of 114 publicly owned, regional weather stations. Most stations are located in the irrigated regions of eastern Washington providing nearly real-time weather data at 15-minute intervals for local growers.