From the Field Updates: Week of March 30, 2023

From the field logo.

I hit 8 sites during the week of March 30, 2023, including St. John, Lamont, Reardan, Creston, Almira, Moses Lake, Ritzville, and Dusty, so lots to talk about. I’ll break it out by location to make it a little more palatable.

St. John

Winter wheat trials continues to look good overall. A few plots in the first range looked a little thin, but I’m expecting most will fill in as the smaller plants grow. We had some volunteer wheat in the plots last fall, but they appear to have died off over the winter, which is consistent from what I’ve heard others say in the area….only your typical henbit and mustards remain. Some very minor cold damage occurred to the most sensitive entries, which included SY Assure, LWW17-5877 (LCS Kamiak), VI Voodoo CL+, LWW20-2867, LWW20-2383, ORI2190027 CL+, and ORI2190025 CL+. To put it into perspective I rated on a 1-9 scale (1=best) and the worst rating I gave was a “3”. The most notable changes occurred in the winter barley trial where significant winter injury occurred. I took ratings and when averaged across reps, the only one that stood out as worse than the others was ‘Thunder’ (averaged a “6” on the 1-9 scale; others were 3 or 4). Wheat fields nearby looked pretty good with little to no visible cold injury.


Plants were larger here than St. John going into the fall and showed more cold injury, though I wouldn’t consider it severe. The grower’s field surrounding the trial was larger still and showed noticeable leaf burn and an occasional plant death. The worst rating I gave in the trial SWW and CL/AX trials again was only a 3, but I did give some 4s and a 5 in the HRW trial. There was little separation among most of the SWW and CL/AX entries. The few that averaged a “1” included YSC-215, Devote, and Jameson. The varieties that scored a 3 or 4 for every rep included YSC-217, Stingray CL+, VI Voodoo CL+, LCS Eclipse AX along with quite a few experimentals. In the HRW trial, Canvas, Guardian, Keldin, WB4303, and Whistler scored the best and OR2190064R, LWH18-0122, LCS Evina, LCS Rocket, and OR2190160R scored the lowest.


Things got interesting at Reardan. There was significant cold injury and what appeared to be snow mold on just a few of the lines, but it was severe where it did appear. The entries that were badly damaged by the snow mold included AP Iliad, LWW17-5877 (LCS Kamiak), and LWW20-2867. You can clearly see the damaged plots I color coded in the attached photo. A badger and some gophers have also taken up residence in the middle of the SWW trial which may take out a few plots. There were also clear signs of cold injury in the nearby fields in the area and east of Edwall.


Despite seeing signs of snow mold in many of the plots, the damage looked minor and fairly uniform throughout the trial. The plants were also quite small and ratings were going to be quite difficult and likely not produce any differences so I did not take ratings there. Overall, the trial looks nice and uniform and I expect it to produce good data this year. The cooperator said the snow went off the trial around two weeks ago, but as you can see in the nearby fields there is still a lot of snow on the north side of the hills yet to melt. It was pretty easy to find spots of snow mold in fields as you drove around.


There appeared to be a combination of cold injury and snow mold at Almira. I took ratings, but still need to analyze the data to see if any varieties stand out. Plants were still on the smaller side and it was difficult to pick out dead leaves from the surrounding residue. Final stands were good overall in the SWW trial there, but gophers have infiltrated the first couple of ranges so I expect I will need to remove some data due to damage before publishing any yield data. Much of the wheat at the CL/AX and HRW trial replant site is still at spike or 1 leaf stage and difficult to row. The trial is next to a low spot in the field and the soil is still quite waterlogged, so won’t know for sure for a while whether we achieved good stands. The CL/AX trial at the first planting site might still be salvageable if we remove plots that had poor emergence due to drill issues. I don’t expect any useable data from the HRW trial at the first planting site.

Moses Lake

Overall, I would say the winter trials here are good. The trial was planted on Oct 26 which was six days after temperatures took a nosedive last fall. Most of the seed germinated but didn’t have enough heat units to emerge until likely late February or early March. And there were reports of crusting in the area and replanting this spring. Indeed, I saw multiple fields around Moses Lake yesterday that were actively being replanted with spring wheat or already had already been replanted, including the field adjacent to the field the trial was in. As such, we did see a reduction in stands in the winter trials, but I would say it was relatively minor and uniform. Interestingly, the fall planted HRS trial adjacent to the winter trials appeared to be impacted more so. I took ratings on overall stand and it was pretty apparent that SY Gunsight and WB9668 were either slower to emerge before crusting or had a harder time pushing through.


There was significant cold injury to certain lines at Ritzville. I took ratings but haven’t analyzed data yet. The entries most affected though included Appleby CL, ORI2190027 CL+, and ORI2190025CL+ in the CL/AX trial, LWH18-0122 (LCS Blackbird) in the HRW trial, and LWW17-5877 (LCS Kamiak), LWW20-2383, and LWW20-2867 in the SWW trial. There appeared to be an extensive number of dead plants in some of these plots, not just leaf dieback. Dr. Arron Carter also took cold injury notes at Lind this week and found nearly identical results.


Trial looks great overall. Plants had greened up and were actively growing. There was really no cold injury to report. Some of the early varieties were already very erect (SY Assure, AP Iliad, LWW17-5877 (LCS Kamiak), LWW20-2383, LWW19-3371, ORI2190025 CL+, and ORI2190027 CL+), but had not jointed yet.

Brandon was by Horse Heaven, Walla Walla, and Dayton as well. No issues to report at any of those winter sites. So far Pasco (3/16), Moses Lake (3/17), Lind (3/16), and Horse Heaven (3/30) spring trials are in the ground. I expect we’ll get Walla Walla and possibly Lamont or Endicott planted late next week once this next cold front passes through.

Clark Neely professional headshot.

For questions or comments, contact Clark Neely via email at or mobile phone at (814) 571-5628.