CAHNRS and WSU Extension

Wheat and Small Grains

Grain Quality Resources

 Soil & Water Management

Timely Topics

Falling Number Resources

White Paper- Strategies to Reduce Economic Losses Due to Low Falling Number in Wheat New

Abstract: Untimely rain and temperature fluctuations caused increases in the starch-degrading enzyme alpha-amylase in Pacific Northwest wheat grain and low values for the international grading standard Hagberg Falling Numbers test.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Falling Numbers

Abstract: Falling numbers have been a major issue throughout Eastern Washington this past harvest season. Several recent Timely Topics have directed readers to information on falling numbers. Now a new resource has been added to the list of existing information on the topic.

New Publication Addresses Managing the Risk of Low Falling Numbers

Abstract: Grain is purchased at a discount when falling numbers are below 300 seconds. This can result in serious financial losses for farmers. This article addresses many commonly asked questions about the Hagberg-Perten Falling Number test, and provides some suggestions for reducing losses due to low falling numbers.

Resources for Understanding Low Falling Numbers

Abstract: The following resources were assembled to help growers and wheat industry members understand issues surrounding low falling number in wheat.

Washington Association of Wheat Growers Falling Number Update

Abstract: Low falling numbers, which have struck distinct regions of Eastern Washington, periodically have shown up once again in the 2016 crop. This season’s outbreak is widespread, but on a random basis. Low falling numbers can be caused by two factors: rain at harvest and Late Maturity Alpha Amylase (LMA) activity. This year, LMA is the primary factor causing low falling numbers.

Recent Weather Could Affect Wheat Quality

Abstract: As wheat harvest gets started in Washington recent rainfall and cool temperatures have some growers worried about Mother Nature’s fickle ways with their crop. Rainfall close to harvest can result in preharvest sprouting, which can negatively affect wheat quality.  Dr. Camille Steber, USDA-ARS plant geneticist, explains the potential effects of recent rains on this year’s wheat crop and what growers can do to manage this risk.

Recent Publications

Direct Questions to:

Ryan Higginbotham
Regional Extension Specialist

Steber Laboratory

The Steber Laboratory is part of the Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology, and Disease Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and is housed in and affiliated with the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Contact Camille Steber at or 509-335-2887.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Pullman WA

Western Wheat Qualtiy Lab Pullman

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Wheat and Small Grains, P.O. Box 646420 Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6420, 509-335-1719, Contact Us
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