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Field Notes: Selecting a winter wheat variety for fall planting

Valerie Tate

The University of Missouri Variety Testing program for corn, soybeans and wheat began evaluating yield more than 75 years ago. The results for the 2020 wheat variety trials have been summarized and are available online at https://varietytesting.missouri.edu.

Yield is highly dependent upon environmental conditions. Rainfall, soil fertility, insect and disease pressure all affect yield. To minimize the effect of the environment, the trials are replicated and small plots are used. In the trial, yield for each variety is corrected to 13% moisture. Test weight, lodging at harvest, and plant height at maturity are all recorded.

These trials are conducted at MU Experiment Stations and farm fields throughout the state. Trials in North and Central Missouri include sites near Wheeling, Martinsburg, Novelty and Columbia. The average yield of all 52 varieties entered in the trial in the North and Central Missouri locations was 69.1 bushels per acre. The Wheeling site averaged 68.2 bushels per acre across all varieties, the average yield at Novelty was 70.0, Martinsburg 77.1 and the Columbia location averaged 61.0 bushels per acre.

Yield is not the only variable to consider when selecting a variety. For wheat, also consider winter hardiness, disease resistance, resistance to Hessian fly and maturity. Keep in mind that not every variety a seed company sells is submitted and not all companies submit varieties for testing. These varieties should also be taken into consideration when selecting wheat varieties for planting this fall.

For more information contact Valerie Tate, Field Specialist in Agronomy for University of Missouri Extension at tatev@missouri.edu or call 660-895-5123. University of Missouri Extension programs are open to all.