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Wheat & Small Grains Timely Topics – Variety Selection

“A Conversation with Arron Carter, WSU Winter Wheat Breeder” Podcast

Episode 58 of Wheat All About It! features Washington State University’s winter wheat breeder, Arron Carter. Join Scott Yates, director of communications and producer relations for the Washington Grain Commission, in “A Conversation with Arron Carter, WSU Winter Wheat Breeder” a two-part series with Arron. In this episode, Scott and Arron discuss the importance of… » More ...

The WSU Wheat Beat Podcast

Introducing the WSU Wheat Beat podcast, a new podcast brought to you by the WSU Extension Dryland Cropping Systems Team. Each week your host, Drew Lyon, will sit down with a WSU or USDA-ARS researcher to discuss the latest research related to small grains production systems in eastern Washington. Episode 1 will feature a discussion… » More ...

“The Vagaries of Varieties” Podcast

Episode 43 of Wheat All About It! is an interview with Ryan Higginbotham about the Variety Testing Program. Ryan Higginbotham, director of Washington State University’s Variety  Selection & Testing Program, looks back over the 2016/2017 wheat growing season from the perspective of someone who farms throughout Eastern Washington’s diverse precipitation zones in the first of… » More ...

Why It Is Important To Calibrate Your Seed Drills

Some producers across the state are in the middle of harvest while others have sent the last grain truck to the elevator and are getting geared up for seeding. An important question to ask your self is this: can I set the notches on the drill to a seed index of 45 and not look back? Even with a new drill, the answer should be “No”. Everyone has their preferred seed drill whether it is an old John Deere HZ drill or one of the new air seeders. No matter the type of seed drill used, one should always calibrate to ensure proper seeding rates. If too much seed is going out, one could be wasting dollars. Also, your yields will likely suffer if plants are competing against each other, so, after you have chosen your variety, make sure to calibrate your drill. If you plant too little seed, your fields won’t produce to its full potential. You’ll have more weed pressure and disappointing yields. Because drills meter by volume and seed is planted by weight, the only way to be sure you’re seeding at the right rate is to calibrate your drill.

Make sure to check out our Seeding Rate Converter that can help with the calibration process.

The YouTube video titled “Seed Drill Calibration” demonstrates a step-by-step process for calibrating a seed drill

Here is a PDF titled “Ready. Set. Seed” was presented at the 2014 Direct and Oilseed Cropping Systems Conference in regards to planting canola. 


Dale Whaley, Regional Extension Specialist in Integrated Weed Management and AgricultureFor questions or comments, contact Dale Whaley by phone at (509) 745-8531 or by email at

“Plotting Wheat’s Way Forward” Podcast

WSU Small Grain’s Cereal Variety Testing Program field days are well underway. Recently, Ryan Higginbotham, Regional Extension Specialist for the Cereal Variety Testing program at WSU, and Michael Pumphrey, Endowed Chair and WSU Spring Wheat Breeder, were interviewed by Scott Yates, Director of Communications at the Washington Grain Commission at the Reardan Field Day, which was held June 28.

In episode 29 of the Wheat All About It! podcast, Plotting Wheat’s Way Forward, Higginbotham and Pumphrey discuss field day preparation and this summer’s weather as it relates to the possibility of incurring late maturity alpha amylase activity and falling numbers discounts.

Don’t forget to subscribe to all of the Wheat All About It! podcasts on iTunes. Search for Wheat All About It. A summary of the podcasts, including many highlighting WSU researchers is available at the Washington Grain Commission website.

For questions or comments, contact Ryan Higginbotham by email at, Michael Pumphrey at or Scott Yates at

Raising the Quality Bar

Each spring the Idaho, Oregon and Washington grain commissions publish the Preferred Wheat Varieties brochure.  The document ranks current commercial wheat varieties based on their end-use quality and the 2017 edition has just been published! The Preferred Wheat Varieties brochure serves the grain industry by providing customers of Pacific Northwest (PNW) wheat with a ranking… » More ...

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 ...

Jasper, WSU’s 100th Released Variety

In 2015, WSU released a new soft white winter wheat cultivar named Jasper, which was the 100th cultivar released from the University.  Unfortunately, in the 2016 WSU Variety Testing trial, Jasper was not included due to a seed error in transferring the seed from the breeding program to the variety testing program.

Table 1. Agronomic characteristics of Jasper compared to check cultivars in WSU Wheat Breeding trials
Jasper 89.5 149 34
Xerpha 80 151 34
Eltan 75 152 35
Bruehl 79 153 36
Puma 82.5 149 36
Otto 85 153 36

As a result, many growers have asked for yield information on this line from the test plots in the breeding program, where the correct seed was planted.  Tables are provided to help summarize the performance of Jasper as compared to other cultivars released from the breeding program.  These lines are also included as check cultivars in my yield trials, and thus provide easy yield comparison.

Table 1 provides information on heading date (HD; days after January 1st to heading) and plant height (PH; measured in inches).  The yield data encompasses all paired location data we have on Jasper across 74 locations and seven years.  Yield of Jasper is significantly higher than all other cultivars when averaged over these locations.

Table 2 provides the data just in locations receiving less than 16” of annual rainfall.  Here there are 49 paired observations for yield comparison.  Jasper again demonstrated higher yield potential than check cultivars.  Data is also presented in Table 2 representing specific locations where we have multiple observations of Jasper across years.  Again, yield potential is higher than check cultivars with the exception of Lind.


Table 2. Grain yield potential of Jasper compared to check cultivars in WSU Breeding and Variety testing trials receiving less than 16” of annual rainfall

Davenport (4) Harrington (5) Lind (12) Ritzville (5) Breeding Trial Average (49) Variety Testing Average (34)
Jasper 103 75.8 50 69 73 71
Xerpha 99 73.2 53 64 67 72
Eltan 90 64.4 48 59 63 68
Bruehl 88 69.2 48 58 64.5 65
Puma 92 71 48 67 67 67
Otto 88 70.4 51.5 68 67.5 66

When data is averaged from the <16” WSU Variety Testing trials where Jasper was present (2013-2015, 34 observations), Jasper had a significantly higher yield potential than all checks except Xerpha, which showed no significant difference.  In 2016, Jasper was also on two large scale plantings.  In Ritzville, a large strip trial had Jasper averaging 77 bushels per acre (bu/a), the highest yield of all entries.  Xerpha yielded 61 bu/a, whereas Puma and Otto both yielded 74 bu/a.  At the Wilke Farm in Davenport, Aaron Esser had a field of Jasper and a field of an Otto/Masami blend.  Jasper averaged 99 bu/a, whereas the Otto/Masami blend averaged 91 bu/a.

Average grain yield in bushels per acre over all paired locations in WSU Winter Wheat Breeding Trials in areas with less than 15” annual rainfall.  Variety Testing data is also included, averaging yield data from 2013-2015 in less than 16” rainfall zones.  Individual locations are also presented along with the number of observations analyzed.

Photo courtesy of Paul Porter with Washington Genetics
Photo courtesy of Paul Porter at Washington Genetics
Photo courtesy of Aaron Esser
Photo courtesy of Mike Miller with Washington Genetics
Photo courtesy of Marci Miller at Washington Genetics

For questions, contact Arron Carter at or (509) 335-6198.

New Publication Addresses Managing the Risk of Low Falling Numbers

Figure-2-300x191Low Falling Numbers has been a big issue for eastern Washington wheat growers this season. Discounts for grain with falling numbers below 300 are causing serious financial losses for some growers. Falling numbers testing of the Washington State University Cereal Variety Trials are currently underway. Based on variety trial information, the low falling number problem is far more extensive this year than in 2013. In 2013, there were major problems with low falling numbers in seven of 20 variety trial locations.

Thus far in 2016, we are seeing low falling numbers problems in 11 or the 14 locations tested thus far. Of these 11 low falling number locations, four are showing falling numbers below 200 seconds. In order to help growers understand what the Hagberg-Perten Falling Number test is and how to manage the risk of low falling numbers for the future, Camille Steber, Research Molecular Geneticist with the USDA-ARS, authored Managing the Risk of Low Falling Numbers in Wheat, a new WSU Extension publication.

For questions or comments, contact Camille Steber at or 509-335-2887.

Washington State University