2020 Spring Wheat and Barley Variety Testing Results


While 2020 may not go down as a stellar year for many reasons, one bright spot for growers in Washington was a bumper year for spring crops. In general, temperatures stayed cool and rains hung around longer than normal after a dry start to the spring. The dry conditions experienced in much of March and April also facilitated planting one to four weeks earlier than normal in most locations. As a result, yields in our variety trials were up across the board, particularly, in our drier locations, with only a few exceptions. We did observe some impressive hessian fly pressure at Walla Walla which greatly reduced yields of susceptible lines, while many resistant varieties yielded 10-20 bu/a more than 2019.

Hessian fly damage in spring wheat trials at Walla Walla, WA on June 14, 2020. Resistant varieties have headed out on either side of the stunted susceptible border in the center of the photo.

There were very few new entries this year in either the soft white spring or hard red spring wheat trials. WB9303 was the only true new entry to the HRS trials and none in the SWS trials. However, there were two newly named varieties previously tested as experimental lines. These include Hedge CL+ (formerly WA8295 CL+), a club wheat, and CP3066 (formerly CPX36619), a hard red spring wheat. Hedge CL+ is unique in that it is the only 2-gene Clearfield spring club wheat on the market. It has been in the trial for three years now and performs very similarly to JD in all precipitation zones for both yield and test weight, but has the added benefit of the 2-gene Clearfield trait. AP Coachman is on its third year of testing in the SWS trial. It had a very good year in 2019, but did slip a little in yield for 2020 in the intermediate rainfall zones. Having said that, it held its own in the >20” zone and really excelled in the <12” zone in 2020, topping the regional summary there. Lodging was a problem at both of the irrigated sites.

WB9303 started out yielding close to the trial average in high rainfall zone, then yield declined steadily to the bottom of the trial in the lowest rainfall zone. While it had excellent test weight and protein, it was generally no better than WB9668 for these traits and with lower yield potential in the irrigated and low precipitation zones. CP3066 yielded mostly below average, though it did close to the trial average in the irrigated and 12-16” precipitation zones. It was typically at or just above the trial average for test weight and protein.

Net CL+ was released last year and continued to yield similarly in 2020 as it has in the past. It was near the trial average in the high rainfall zones, and while it slipped slightly in the 12-16” zone, it remains at the top of the trial for the <12” zone. In all cases, it out-yields SY 605 CL2, the only other 2-gene Clearfield HRS variety in the trial. AP Octane and AP Venom are on their second year of testing in the irrigated sites where they again performed well. On the two year regional average, they were statistically tied with SY Gunsight as the top yielding HRS entries in the trial. AP Octane was similar to SY Gunsight for test weight and protein, while AP Venom was slightly lower in test weight and slightly better on protein.

In the spring barley trials, we saw some significant changes in the entry list this year by dropping malt varieties AAC Connect, CDC Copeland, and LCS Genie along with feed varieties Champion, LCS Vespa, and Muir. We also saw the addition of KWS Amadora, KWS Chrissie, KWS Fantex, KWS Jessie, and LCS Diablo. Many of the new malt barleys performed very well in 2020. Most notably, KWS Chrissie was statistically in the top yielding group in all three precipitation zones. KWS Jesse and LCS Diablo were also in the top yielding group in two out of the three regions. Many of the new malt varieties out-yielded the feed varieties in the intermediate and low rainfall regions and were comparable in the high precipitation zone.

On the two-year average, Altorado and Oreana (feed barleys) and LCS Opera and LCS Odyssey (malt varieties) continued to do well across all locations, while Lyon and Lenetah were competitive with these varieties in the highest and lowest precipitation zones. A recently named variety ‘Charger’ (formerly BZ512-319) was comparable in 2020 to Altorado in the >20” zone, but was less competitive for yield in the intermediate and low precipitation zones. ‘Palmer’ was a newly released malt variety in 2019, but struggled in 2020 and landed near the bottom of the trial in most cases.

Results from the Farmington HRS trial are not shown due to a high C.V. (coefficient of variation), indicating too much unexplained variability within the trials due to resistant Italian ryegrass. Data from Palouse and Pullman spring barley trials are not shown due to high C.V. values as well. The complete set of results from 2020 can be found on the 2020 Variety Testing Data page. Also, be sure to check out our disease, end-use quality, and falling number ratings in the final 2020 technical report on our Small Grains website or through our Variety Selection Tool. The Washington Grain Commission also publishes a “Preferred Wheat Varieties” brochure with end-use quality ratings for commercial varieties.


Funding for supplies, travel, and technical support for the WSU Extension Cereal Variety Testing Program is provided by the Washington Grain Commission. Facilities, salaries, and equipment are provided by the WSU administration. We are grateful for the many on-farm cooperators we partner with to conduct these trials around the state. They are essential for producing quality data and their donations of land, time, and resources are appreciated.

Clark Neely professional headshot.

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