MSU’s 2016 wheat variety performance results are available

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

MSU wheat trials in Sanilac County. This location hosts several hundred small plots as part of multiple studies including the MSU Wheat Variety Performance trail. Photo: Rodney Schmidt, Secher Site Specific LLC, and Mike Houghtaling, P&C Ag Solutions.

MSU wheat trials in Sanilac County. This location hosts several hundred small plots as part of multiple studies including the MSU Wheat Variety Performance trail. Photo: Rodney Schmidt, Secher Site Specific LLC, and Mike Houghtaling, P&C Ag Solutions.

Each year, Michigan State University’s wheat breeding team collaborates with industry to measure the performance and describe the 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 2016 state wheat variety report represents the results from six sites across the state, providing valuable comparative data on 62 (54 soft red and 10 soft white) commercial varieties. At two sites (Ingham and Tuscola counties), all varieties were grown using conventional and high management inputs. The high management inputs over that of conventional entailed an additional 30 pounds of fertilizer nitrogen – for a total of 120 pounds per acre – and two fungicide applications. This season, these additional inputs, when averaged across all commercial varieties, only boosted yields by 6 bushels per acre at the Ingham County site and 4 bushels at the Tuscola County site. This unusually low level of yield response was primarily due to a relatively low level of disease pressure. It should also be noted that the response varies considerably by variety.

The report also shares ratings for each variety’s level of resistance to various diseases, including various leaf diseases and Fusarium head scab. Other characteristics measured in the trials include test weight, harvest moisture, plant lodging, maturity and baking qualities.

The performance report is the single best reference for growers to use when selecting new varieties. When considering varieties, MSU Extension recommends using the report’s multi-year and multi-site data rather than information from a single site or season. 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.

The effort is part of MSU’s wheat breeding team led by Eric Olson. Leadership of the field work is provided by Lee Siler. Funding for the high management studies is provided by the Michigan Wheat Program.

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