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At the farm level, university Cooperative Extension personnel have conducted field trials for decades on the latest and greatest seed cultivars. With cereal grain plantings in the West just a few months away, Western Farm Press checked in with several Extension advisors and agronomists with the University of California (UC) and University of Arizona (UA) to get their take on their latest cultivar comparisons.
For California's San Joaquin Valley, Steve Wright, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor for Tulare and Kings counties, provided his findings from cooperative trials with Lee Jackson, UCCE Extension specialist, on wheat, barley, and triticale. UCCE farm advisor Doug Munier of Glenn County shared the Sacramento Valley perspective on wheat and barley. Information was not available at press time for the Imperial Valley.
In Arizona, Mike Ottman, UA Extension agronomist, provided results on side-by-side variety trials for wheat and barley.
Note: all tests below were conducted with irrigation. Also, measurements were based on pounds per acre, pounds per bushel test weight, and milligram kernel weight.
Lee Jackson and Steve Wright — University of California
Common wheat cultivars - Kings County 2007
The Joaquin wheat variety produced the highest yields at 7,710 pounds per acre, 63.6 test weight (lbs./bu.), and 40.3 grams in 1,000 kernel weight. Blanca Grande was the second highest yielder at 7,130 pounds, 64.5 test weight , and 43.3 kernel weight. Dash 12 was third best in yield with 7,080 pounds, 62.9 test weight, and 38 kernel weight.
Solano came in fourth with a 6,890-pound yield, 61.1 test weight, and 33.9 kernel weight. Blanca Fuerte generated a 6,800-pound yield, 64 test, and 41.6 kernel weight.
Durum wheat cultivars - Kings County 2007
Sevevo produced the highest yields at 8,170 pounds per acre, 63.5 test weight, and 40.8 1,000 kernel weight. Topper yielded second best at 7,780 pounds, 61.9 test weight, and 37.3 kernel weight. Producing 7,620 pounds was Sargolla with 63.1 test, and 41.1 kernel weight.
Maestrale recorded 7,410 pounds per acre, 63.4 test, and 48.3 kernel weight. Duraking yielded 7,530 pounds per acre, 60.7 test weight, and 37.3 kernel weight.
Common triticale test — Kings County 2007
Trical Brand 118 topped other entries in yield with 6,830 pounds, 58.3 test, and 35.1 kernel weight. Second in yields was Trical 116 with 6,510 pounds, 54.6 test weight, and 35.9 kernel weight. Trical Brand 105 produced 4,970 pounds, 56.4 test, and 37.7 kernel weight.
Barley cultivar test — Kings County 2007
Ishi produced the highest yields at 7,230 pounds with a 51.3 test weight, and 38.8 kernel weight. UC 933 produced 6,880 pounds, 51.9 test, and 33.4 kernel weight. UC 969 yielded 6,390 pounds, 52.6 test, and 38.8 kernel weight.
Doug Munier — University of California three-year summary (nine trials in 2005-2007)
Wheat yield summary - Sacramento Valley
The top five yielding varieties included: Cal Rojo - 6,410 pounds; Patwin - 5,910; Summit - 5,410; Blanca Grande - 5,410; and Dash 12 - 5,340.
There are two newer wheat varieties only tested for the last two years. The varieties cannot be compared to the three-year averages shown above for the Sacramento Valley, Munier said. However, the newer varieties can be compared over the two-year period to Cal Rojo.
For the five locations of trials in 2006-2007, in the Sacramento Valley, Blanca Fuerte yielded 6,770 pounds, Expresso 5,720 pounds, and Cal Rojo 6,480 pounds.
Triticale yield summary — Sacramento Valley
All Trical Brand varieties: 118 - 7,970 pounds; 98 - 7,230; 116 - 6,810, and 105 - 6,540.
Tests on wheat stripe rust - Central Valley
Note: Rating scale for diseases — area of flag-1 leaf affected: 1 = 0 to 3 percent; 2 = 4 percent to 14 percent; 3 = 15 percent to 29 percent; 4 = 30 percent to 49 percent; 5 = 50 percent to 69 percent. Mean was based on four locations: Colusa, UC Davis, Sac-SJ Delta, and Kings.
Varieties and stripe rust ratings included: Anza - 4.3; Yecora Rojo - 6.6; Express - 4.0; Summit - 5.3; Blanca Grande - 5.1; Mica - 1.0; Dash 12 - 1.3; Clear White - 3; Solano - 4.0; and Patwin - 1.1. Receiving 1.0 ratings were: Joaquin, WWW BR6000W, Cal Rojo, Otis, Expresso, and Blanca Fuerte.
Barley yield summary - Sacramento Valley
Ishi - 6,480 pounds, UC 933 - 6,360, UC 937 - 5,990, UC 969 - 5,760, and Meltan - 3,670.
Mike Ottman — University of Arizona
Arizona's first 2007 durum wheat production forecast released in May pegged production at 240,000 tons, up 8 percent from 2006. Area for harvest was estimated at 80,000 acres yielding 6,000 pounds per acre, unchanged from a year ago.
The state's 2006 barley crop included 22,000 harvested acres. A few thousand acres of common wheat are grown in Arizona.
Most of Ottman's findings were derived from trials conducted in Maricopa, Pinal, and Yuma counties.
Desert Durum variety trials - Arizona
In planted acreage, the top durum varieties in 2006 were Kronos, Ocotillo, Alamo, Orita, and Sky.
In Ottman's multi-year summary of varietal performance, Kronos yielded 6,329 pounds per acre, 6.7 test weight, and 53 kernel weight. Ocotillo produced 6,181 pounds, a 63.2 test weight, and 49 kernel weight. For Alamo, the results were 5,999 pounds, 64 test weight, and 50 kernel weight. Orita produced 6,632 pounds, 61.8 test weight, and 52 kernel weight. Sky produced 6,233 pounds, 61.2 test weight, and 45 kernel weight.
The results of several new varieties included: Havasu - 6,436 pounds, 64.1 test weight; Q-Max at 6,907 pounds, and 61.2 test weight; and Westmore - 6,606 pounds and 63.6 test weight.
Wheat variety trials - Arizona
In a multi-year summary, Cavalier produced 6,611 pounds, 62.9 test weight, and 45 kernel weight. Yecora Rojo yielded 6,293 pounds, 62.0 test weight, and 44 kernel weight.
Barley variety trials - Arizona
By acreage, Arizona's top barley varieties included: Baretta — 6,568 pounds, 52.6 test weight, and 45-kernel weight; Chico — 6,300 pounds, 52.7 test weight, and 38 kernel weight; Cochise — 6,428 pounds, 52.9 test weight, and 38 kernel weight; Max — 6,467 pounds, 52.4 test weight, and 44 kernel weight; and Nebula — 6,266 pounds, 53.4 test weight, and 47 kernel weight.
In 2006, the UA released a new low input barley variety called Solar, a lower yield variety designed for minimal water and fertilizer use.
“If you're stingy with the water and fertilizer, Solar does better,” Ottman said. “Solar is tougher and more resistant to water stress. Solar shines in starving conditions.”
Small amounts of triticale are currently grown in Arizona but plantings could increase in the future, Ottman said.
“Ninety percent of the wheat grown in Arizona is Desert Durum,” according to Al Simons, executive director of the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council (AGRPC).
Desert Durum is a registered trademark of the AGRPC and the California Wheat Commission. Desert Durum is also grown in California's Imperial Valley and SJV.