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Wheat & Small Grains Blythe Howell

Jointed Goatgrass Biotype Resistant to Beyond Discovered in Eastern Washington

The first case of jointed goatgrass resistant to imazamox, the active ingredient in Beyond herbicide, has been confirmed in Eastern Washington. A team of Washington State University scientists, led by Dr. Ian Burke, publicly announced their findings in the January 2017 issue of Wheat Life magazine.

Clearfield wheat varieties were first planted in Eastern Washington on a widespread basis beginning in the fall of 2003. The fact that it has taken 13 years to discover the first imazamox-resistant jointed goatgrass biotype is a bit of a surprise. Ian Burke said “If you had asked me back when I started working on this in 2006 when to expect to see resistance to Beyond in jointed goatgrass, I would have said ‘we should see it already!’”

The resistant biotype is 144 times more resistant than susceptible goatgrass plants. To see even a little response in the resistant plants, researchers had to use 6x the labeled use rate of Beyond. Jeannette Rodriguez, a WSU graduate student, is working to identify the mechanism of resistance. It is known that resistance in this instance was not the result of a cross between Clearfield wheat and jointed goatgrass.

Growers and fieldmen should scout jointed goatgrass patches in fields that they manage and submit samples that they have concerns about to the WSU Herbicide Resistance Testing Program. The Extension publication “Strategies to Minimize the Risk of Herbicide-resistant Jointed Goatgrass” provides information on the control of jointed goatgrass with an emphasis on prevention and management of herbicide resistance.

BASF issued the following statement in response to this discovery: “BASF is supporting WSU research aimed at preserving the long-term benefits of the Clearfield® Production System – with an emphasis on resistant jointed goatgrass. A multifaceted resistance management program is essential to preserve the long-term benefits of Beyond herbicide and the Clearfield Production System. Wheat producers are asked to help protect and prolong the usefulness of these technologies by following the specific recommendations and requirements highlighted in the Clearfield Stewardship Guidelines to help prevent the onset of herbicide resistance in weeds.”

For more information, contact Dr. Ian Burke at or 509-335-2858.

New Publication Addresses Acidic Soils and How They Interact with Root Diseases

As soil acidification continues to be a concern for growers in the Pacific Northwest, WSU researchers are working to provide information and recommendations for how to mitigate adverse effects. Root diseases are one of many factors influenced by acid soils, depending on the soilborne pathogen. The new publication, Acid Soils: How Do They Interact with Root Diseases?, explains how soil pH affects root diseases and also offers examples of common ones in the Pacific Northwest.

Cereal growers in the Pacific Northwest have been experiencing an increase in soil acidity (lower pH) primarily due to a long history of ammonium fertilizer use.

In eastern Washington and northern Idaho, soil acidification tends to be worse in areas that are annually cropped, do not include nitrogen-fixing legumes in the crop rotation, and in areas that were historically forested. Forested soils tend to have a lower pH buffering capacity, making them more prone to shifts in soil pH. These same areas also typically include more forage and seed grass production and seldom include legumes in rotation, meaning that there is more intensive nitrogen application to the soil.

In addition, direct seeding can result in a stratification of soil pH in which the top few inches of soil are more acidic. This is because acidification caused by fertilizer application in the top soil layers is not diluted by mixing with the more alkaline soil below the fertilizer zone. However, the contribution of this stratification on management of soil acidity in direct-seed systems has not been evaluated.

For questions or comments, contact Tim Paulitz at USDA-ARS Wheat Health, Genetics and Quality Research Unit ( or or Kurtis Schroeder, Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences at the University of Idaho (

FAQ: WSU Wheat and Barley Research and Royalties

Washington State University breeds cereals for diverse climates in Washington, with a focus on locally important resistance traits and high standards while training the next generation of plant breeders. The cereal breeding industry is changing rapidly. Public breeding programs need adequate financial resources to remain viable. For the past four years, WSU wheat and barley… » More ...

Continued FAQ: WSU Wheat and Barley Research and Royalties

What are wheat and barley royalties?

  • Royalties are payments made on each pound of seed sold from proprietary wheat varieties developed by corporations and universities or research institutions. Royalties are collected by seed dealers and are paid to the developing company or university.
  • Royalties are common in the seed industry. They have been established by all companies as well as most public (university) wheat breeding programs.

Why did WSU begin charging royalties?

  • In 2012, in response to reductions in state support and increased costs of developing new wheat and barley varieties, WSU began charging royalties on all new varieties. Less than one-third of the cost of WSU research, including variety development, comes from state and federal formula funds. The remainder of the cost is from extramural sources.
  • Costs for developing new wheat and barley varieties have risen dramatically. Increasing demand for higher yielding varieties with excellent end-use quality and disease resistance that are specifically adapted to the various growing areas require advanced technology, more intense testing, and seed increases conducted in locations such as Arizona or the southern hemisphere to reduce the time to development.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Esser.

How much do growers pay?

  • WSU’s current royalty is 2 cents per pound of seed. Seventy percent (70%) of net proceeds from royalties are distributed to the WSU wheat and barley breeding programs, with the remainder distributed among the WSU Agricultural Research Center, the wheat or barley breeder, and the WSU Office of Commercialization.
  • WSU royalties are priced competitively, and are below private company royalty rates. WSU does not set the total, retail seed price—seed sellers do.
  • In 2015, gross royalties before expenses brought in $856,000.

How do royalties benefit the future of wheat and barley?

  • WSU is committed to releasing outstanding varieties by having the best wheat and barley breeding programs in the country. Royalties are reinvested in our breeding and support programs to develop new varieties addressing diverse market requirements and production conditions for Washington growers.
  • Royalties and commercialization of WSU wheat varieties protect our germplasm, which has a 120-year development history. Certified seed ensures that Washington wheat maintains consistent high quality, uniformity and is true to type year after year.
  • WSU varieties give farmers an option in addition to private company varieties, and are developed specifically for the unique climatic regions of eastern Washington.
  • For the next several years, royalties from WSU wheat and barley varieties are being used to pay for WSU’s share of the cost of the new Washington Grains Plant Growth Facility (PGF), opened in fall 2015. This facility speeds and improves the breeding process. Future royalties will be reinvested in variety development (breeding) programs and other research that supports variety development.

Why does WSU use Certified seed and “no plant-back” restrictions?

  • Newer WSU varieties are protected under Plant Variety Patents and/or contracts, where the seeds are sold under a “no plant-back” restriction.
  • To ensure genetic purity, identity, and minimum established quality standards, royalty bearing WSU varieties are available only as Certified seeds.
  • This protects the buyer as Certified seeds and the re-planting restriction provides an assurance to the user that the purchased seed meets a specific standard level of high genetic purity, germplasm identity, high germinating ability, and minimum amounts of other crop seed, weed seed, and inert matter.
  • A current list of WSU varieties that are under a “no plant-back” restriction can be found at

New Publication Compares Wheat and Canola Management

The Washington State Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) Project team has added another fact sheet to their Oilseed Series with the recent publication of “Physiology Matters: Adjusting Wheat-based Management Strategies for Oilseed Production.” Canola acreage in Washington and the PNW is projected to increase significantly due to several factors such as low wheat prices, sufficient moisture for… » More ...

Slime Mold on Wheat

If you are seeing this in your wheat or straw stubble-don’t panic! These little yellow globs are slime molds. Slime molds are in the Myxomycota within the Kindgom Protozoa. These globs often get lumped together with fungi, but unlike fungi--which absorb their food--slime molds consume their food. The difference between slime molds and fungi is… » More ...

Winter Wheat Herbicide Efficacy Tables Helps Growers Narrow Herbicide Options

Weeds are the bane of many farm operations, and consequently, farmers spend more money on herbicides than any other production input other than fertilizer. However, it can be difficult to choose what herbicide or herbicides to use. There are many herbicides to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, there is a… » More ...
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