Highlights from the 2020 WSU Winter Wheat Variety Trials


The 2020 season turned out to be pretty favorable for most winter wheat production in Washington.

In the high rainfall zones, yields and test weights were up across the board. Farmington stood out with a 69 percent greater yield compared to 2019 while Dayton saw the biggest bump in test weight of +3.2 lb/bu.

Both yields and test weights were mostly up in the 12-16 inch zone as well with Lamont being the main exception. However, this had more to do with the exceptionally high yields experienced at Lamont in 2019, rather than a low year in 2020. On the flip side, Dusty saw a 55 percent increase in yield.

Yields were down between 10 and 30 percent in the under 12-inch rainfall zone. Lind, however, held nearly steady, while test weights were a mixed bag.

We had some newly named varieties recently that were previously tested under experimental numbers in 2020. These include Piranha CL+ (WA 8305 CL+), Sockeye CL+ (WA 8306 CL+), VI Voodoo CL+ (UIL 17-6268 CL+), VI Presto CL+ (UIL 17-6451 CL+), and AP Exceed (11PN039#20). Piranha CL+ (WSU) appears to be widely adapted across all precipitation zones landing in the top yielding group in every case on the 2-year average. Sockeye CL+ (WSU) was only tested in high rainfall and irrigated sites where it too landed right beside Piranha CL+ in the top yielding group. This variety is best adapted to high rainfall zones and has better stripe rust resistance than Piranha CL+. Both had good test weight.

Two more 2-gene Clearfield varieties were also named by the joint Limagrain/University of Idaho breeding program in 2020 – VI Voodoo CL+ (high rainfall) and VI Presto CL+ (low rainfall). Both had strong showings in 2020, always landing in the Top 10 for each of their respective rainfall zones. VI Voodoo CL+ had solid test weight and VI Presto CL+ had exceptional test weight. VI Voodoo CL+ is rated intermediate on stripe rust resistance, while VI Presto CL+ is rated with excellent resistance.

AP Exceed (AgriPro) was first included in the trials in 2020 and only tested in the low rainfall zones where it landed in the top third of the trial in the 12 to 16-inch precipitation zone and bottom third of the less than 12-inch zone. It did have one of the highest test weights in the trial and is rated resistant to stripe rust.

In the SWW trials, LCS Ghost, LCS Blackjack, LCS Shine, and Norwest Duet continue to stand out for yield in the high rainfall zones, nearly always landing in the Top 10 entries of the trial again in 2020. M-press had another good showing in the intermediate rainfall zones ranking fourth place in both cases.

In both the low precipitation zones, LCS Sonic and Norwest Duet continued to yield well, while ARS-Crescent, LCS Hulk, Devote and Mela CL+ had a good year in the less than 12-inch zone. M-idas yielded well along the Highway 2 corridor, though we do not have any winter survival or snow mold ratings for this variety yet. All of these varieties have very good stripe resistance with the following exceptions: LCS Ghost (moderately resistant), Devote (intermediate), and Mela CL+ (moderate susceptible).

In the HRW trials, LCS Rocket and LCS Jet were the only two varieties to yield in the top group in all three dryland precipitation zones. In the high rainfall sites, LCS Zoom, Scorpio, LCS Aymeric, LCS Evina, and AP Redeye were all in the top statistical grouping for yield; however, of these, only Scorpio will continue to be tested in 2021. In both the low rainfall zones, AP Redeye and Keldin were in the top yielding group as well. WB4394 did well in the 12 to 16 inch zone and Sequoia and Scorpio did well in the less than 12 inch zone. Sequoia and Farnum will no longer be tested in the trial in 2021.

WB4623 CLP continued to lead the trial in grain protein at nearly every site in 2020, though WB 4303 also had consistently high protein compared to the rest of the trial. Of the previously mentioned HRW varieties, stripe rust ratings reflect the following: Resistant – LCS Evina, LCS Zoom, WB4623CLP; Moderately Resistant – AP Redeye; Intermediate – LCS Rocket, LCS Aymeric, Keldin, Sequoia; Moderately Susceptible – LCS Jet, Scorpio, WB4394; Susceptible – WB4303.

Only results from named varieties are presented in Table 1 and Table 2. While yield, test weight, protein, and stripe rust resistance are only briefly mentioned in this article, other agronomic data, grain quality, falling number rating, and more are available on our website. To view the full results from these nurseries please visit the Variety 2020 data page. When possible, always use multiple years and locations within a region to better gauge the adaptation and yield stability of a particular variety. Every year brings its unique challenges and a cultivar must be able to adapt to each and every one of them, not just one or two.

Be on the lookout for our new WSU Variety Selection Tool mobile app coming this spring! The 2021 Preferred Wheat Varieties (pdf) brochure has also been recently published online along with falling numbers data produced by Dr. Camille Steber.

Acknowledgments: Funding for the WSU Extension Uniform Cereal Variety Testing Program is provided by the Washington Grain Commission. Variety trials are made possible by the contribution of land and time from farmer cooperators where the trials are located.

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.