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2021 Winter Wheat Variety Trial Results Available

Posted by Blythe Howell | November 10, 2021
It’s no secret that 2021 will go down in the record books as one of the driest years on record for Washington State and the PNW as a whole.  In fact, yields were down on averaged between 30-50% for our winter wheat variety trials along with low test weights across the board. What is even more impressive is the fact that one of our most challenging years ever for wheat production is following a year with record setting high yields in 2020. It is times like these where I repeat the mantra of “never base your variety decisions off of a single site or single year” whenever possible. We all know there can be wild swings in variety performance from one year (or location) to the next. What we want to know is how reliable and stable are these varieties across environments.

There really were no “new” varieties to the SWW trials in 2021. AP Exceed was new to the high rainfall and irrigated zones, but was previously tested in the low precipitation zone in 2020 under the experimental number 11PN039#20. Similarly, VI Presto CL+ was previously tested in the low rainfall zones, but was first entered into the high rainfall zones in 2021. The opposite was true for VI Voodoo CL+. PNW Hailey was back in the high rainfall and irrigated trials in 2021, but had previously been tested in 2018 and 2019. ARS-Selbu 2.0 is a reselection from the previously released Selbu variety which was last tested in the trials in 2017. Lastly, LCS Shine was entered into the irrigated sites in 2021, but had previously been tested in all other rainfall zones. Unlike the SWW trials, we did have a number of new comers to the HRW trials. Battle AX, Canvas, AP18AX, and LCS Fusion AX were added to all dryland precipitation zones, while Millie (HWW), Whistler, and Guardian were all added to the <16” precipitation zones. Canvas and Battle AX were both added to the irrigated zone as well.

In 2021, Piranha CL+, Sockeye CL+, VI Voodoo CL+, AP Iliad, LCS Artdeco, PNW Hailey, and SY Dayton all landed in the top ten for yield for both the 16-20” and >20” rainfall zone summaries. Stingray CL+, Jasper, Norwest Duet, and AP Exceed also had strong showings in at least one of the zones. LCS Drive was a bit anomalous by placing in the top 10 in the >20” zone as it generally lands near the bottom for yield in years past. Its limited success in 2021 was likely due to its early maturity giving it an advantage in the exceptional heat and drought experienced early in the season this year. In the 2021 low rainfall zones, Jasper, Piranha CL+, Stingray CL+, M-Press, SY Command, Pritchett, Norwest Tandem, and Devote all made it into the top 10 varieties in the <12” and 12-16” zones. LCS Hulk, AP Dynamic, LCS Shine, and VI Presto CL+ also performed exceptionally well in at least one of these precipitation zones. Out of these varieties, Norwest Tandem stood out as exceeding past performance, likely for the same reasons LCS Drive did better in 2021, though Norwest Tandem generally lands near the trial average in most cases. In our irrigated sites, AP Exceed, LCS Artdeco, LCS Shine, and WB1783 were statistically the best yielding varieties when averaged across the two sites in 2021. AP Iliad and LCS Blackjack also did well at Pasco, but were missing from the Moses Lake data due to gopher damage in the plots.

For the hard red winter wheat trials in the >16” rainfall zone, Scorpio stood alone in 2021 as the best yielding variety averaged across two sites, while Millie, Keldin, LCS Rocket, WB4303, and Battle AX (tied WB4303) rounded out the top five. In the 12-16” zone, Keldin, WB4394, Scorpio, WB4303, Battle AX, and Canvas (three way tie for 5th) led the pack for hard red winters. There was only a two bushel difference among the top nine varieties in the <12” zone, which included Scorpio, Guardian, Canvas, Battle AX, AP18AX, Keldin, Whistler, WB4311, and LCS Jet. In the irrigated zone, WB4394, LCS Rocket, Keldin, WB4303, Canvas, and Battle AX won out in 2021. To me one of the most notable results in 2021 was the lower performance by LCS Jet, which has dominated the HRW trial over the past five or so years across all precipitation zones.

Also worth mentioning, in 2021 the Variety testing Program began conducting fall-planted hard red spring wheat trials at Moses Lake and Pasco irrigated sites where they competed well with hard red winter varieties. A third location was added in 2022 at our Dayton site.

Looking ahead to 2022, growers and industry will notice that the SWW variety trials have their first appearance of CoAXium wheat. The WSU winter wheat breeding program entered four advanced CoAXium (indicated by ‘AX’ after the name) breeding lines. Expect more SWW CoAXium entries to be submitted in 2023 by Limagrain and Oregon State University breeding programs.

For detailed 2021 trials results, please visit the 2021 Variety Selection & Testing data results. For a more interactive experience, readers can use our variety selection tool for desktops or download our new mobile iTunes app and our new mobile Android app.


For questions or comments, contact Clark Neely by email at clark.neely@wsu.edu or by his mobile phone at (814) 571-5628.

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