It was certainly a challenging year for wheat production in Northwest Kansas. The warm conditions last fall resulted in wheat crowns that had not been hardened when exposed to an arctic blast in mid-November. This resulted in stand reductions in most all fields and increased susceptibility to additional freeze injury. Some varieties were hurt worse than others, however caution should be used in placing too much emphasis on this one in many year event.
Some newer varieties had a standout year including WB Grainfield and SY Monument. TAM114 looks to be very promising as well and WB4458 continues to show some fit in western Kansas. KanMark performed relatively well and I think can do well here and would like to see more of it under irrigation as a compliment to Cedar, which is an excellent choice for irrigated production. Byrd had excellent performance when treated with a fungicide and is still one of my top pics for west-Central and Northwest Kansas. TAM112 is still on acres as a very drought-tolerant wheat. It is getting some age on it and I think a producer’s best bet is to move towards Byrd which as TAM112 in its pedigree as its source of drought tolerance. Winterhawk continues to show its strengths and is one of the toughest, most versatile wheats for western Kansas. I still like Denali, but like many of our varieties you have to manage its stripe-rust susceptibility. Robidoux showed some performance in the northernmost counties and might be worth a look for a late maturing variety. Oakley CL looked very strong this year due to its high degree of resistance to wheat-streak mosaic and stripe rust. It’s a wheat you should consider if you have perennial bad neighbors who won’t control their volunteer wheat. Of our older varieties T-158 had a very good year and continues to be competitive while TAM111 continues to slip in performance and was especially hurt this year with rust and winter injury.
In the white wheat arena Antero continues to be the wheat to beat, however a new release form K-State called Big Bow (tested as KS11HW369-5-4) looks to be quite competitive. For two gene Clearfield wheats I think Brawl CL+ is our best option until you get further east when AP503CL2 becomes a better choice.
—Lucas Haag, Ph.D.
K-State Extension Northwest Area Agronomist
Find more field reports in the upcoming 2016 Wheat Varieties Book. Order your copy online or call us at 620-398-2893.