MSU’s 2015 wheat variety performance results are available

The Michigan State University Wheat Performance report is now available, providing invaluable information for variety selection and management.

As in past seasons, Michigan State University’s wheat breeding team collaborates with industry to measure the performance and characteristics of numerous soft red and soft white winter wheat varieties. The results of this year’s trial are available in a report that can be found at the MSU Wheat Performance Trials website.

The 2015 state wheat variety report represents data from six sites across the state, providing valuable comparative data on 62 (49 soft red and 13 soft white) commercial varieties. Five of the six sites received high management inputs which included 30 pounds of additional nitrogen fertilizer per acre, for a total of 120 pounds nitrogen, and two fungicide applications. Side-by-side trials of conventionally managed varieties and highly managed varieties in Ingham County suggests the higher inputs resulted in 14.6 additional bushels of grain and 1.7 pounds of additional test weight when averaged across all varieties. Averaged across all sites, the top five red varieties yielded 99.6 bushels per acre and the top five white varieties yielded 95.3 bushels.

The report also shares observations on each variety’s level of resistance to various diseases, including Fusarium head scab, a disease that plagued numerous production fields this season. The degree of resistance to scab is indicated by visible symptoms, summarized as an index, Fusarium-damaged kernels and DON (vomitoxin) level. Other characteristics measured in the trials include test weight, harvest moisture, plant lodging, maturity, susceptibility to selected leaf diseases and baking qualities.

The performance report is the single best reference for growers to use when selecting new varieties. When considering varieties, Michigan State University Extension recommends using the report’s multi-year and multi-site data, rather than a single point of datum. This helps insure varieties are selected that will likely perform under a range of conditions.

The report is also a helpful reference for management decisions. The information on lodging, maturity and disease resistance can aid growers in fine-tuning strategies relative to nitrogen fertilization and fungicide programs for individual varieties.

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