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Drew Lyon: Hello. Welcome to the WSU Wheat Beat podcast. I’m your host, Drew Lyon, and I want to thank you for joining me as we explore the world of small grains production and research at Washington State University. In each episode, I speak with researchers from WSU and the USDA-ARS to provide you with insights into the latest research on wheat and barley production. If you enjoy the WSU Wheat Beat podcast, do us a favor and subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app and leave us a review so others can find the show too.
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Drew Lyon: My guest today is Dr. Clark Neely. Clark is an extension agronomist and the lead for the WSU Extension Cereal Variety Testing Program based in Pullman, Washington with the Crop and Soil Sciences Department. He received degrees from Penn State, University of Idaho, and Texas A&M University. He worked for six years at Texas A&M University as the statewide small grains and cool season oilseed extension specialist. Before coming to WSU in 2019, his current research program is built around the Variety Testing Program with funded projects looking at the impact the wheat varieties have on soil microbial recruitment and the rhizosphere and possible wheat varietal impacts on subsequent canola production. Clark also teaches the Advanced Cropping Systems Course for the department. Hello, Clark.
Drew Lyon: So, how did the Washington winter wheat crop turn out this year?
Dr. Clark Neely: Well, it turned out pretty good. As most people noticed, because of the long, cool, wet spring that we had really helped… considering the rough start that we had last fall, things were really dry. We were still in the midst of that severe drought. So that long, cool spring really helped plants compensate. If you look at the trial data that’s coming out right now, yields have been up pretty much across the board, anywhere from 12%, in one case, as much as 200%.
Drew Lyon: Wow.
Dr. Clark Neely: So some big jumps there. The one that stood out to me, I think was was Dusty, I think that was one that really I think a average of 120 bushels at that site. So that was really good. And likewise, because of the cool temps test, weights were also up across the board from about two and a half to upwards to four and a half pounds per bushel, which isn’t, you know, considering how bad things were last year, that that’s a little bit skewed. But still, it’s probably beating average both for yield and test weight. Not everybody received as much of the beneficial rains. You know, I think there were pockets out there around like Odessa and Ritzville that did not get as much rain as other parts of the state did. So yeah, as a whole, things were up. Proteins were kind of a mixed bag. Some of our locations were below average, somewhere or exceeded what we were hoping. As far as other things that we were keeping an eye on, you know, everyone’s always wondering about falling numbers. Talking to some of my contacts. Really haven’t seen that be a problem so far. So that’s really good. Which I wasn’t really expecting because we didn’t see big temperature swings ,things just stayed really cool. So no, no big issues there. I am a little bit curious around the Walla Walla area. You know, last week we had some thunderstorms and rain go through and it seemed like there were some areas down there that got multiple rounds of rain. So I do worry about some pre harvest sprouting down there, but nothing relating to LMA issues. Some other things that I noticed going around the trials this past year, there was a fair amount of physiological spot. I think we’ve talked about that in some of our extension meetings throughout the summer. So the typical ones that you think of, like Stingray, Resilience, Appleby, LCS Hawk, they all showed pretty significant signs of PLS. Not at every site, but a fair number of them. Some other things, you know, stripe rust, everyone was talking about that this year. We really didn’t have any last year because of the drought. For the most part it came on too late to really do too much damage to the winter wheat. You know, spring wheat it was a little bit more concerning, but I think there’s plenty of fungicides that went out that we didn’t really see any widespread damage from it. The other things that the big things that we were dealing with this year, like I mentioned earlier, stands were challenging last fall and our low rainfall areas. In fact, you know, several of our sites didn’t make any useful data. And primarily because of that, it was just so dry. We did not publish data from St. Andrews, from Ritzville. There’s another one I’m forgetting, but there were three of them. Oh, Bickleton was the other one. Yeah. That they just didn’t make very good stands. And then lastly, because of all the rain we had this spring, we had a lot of weeds that we were dealing with. So my my crew was going around doing a lot of hoeing. And a lot of that had to do with, you know, multiple rounds of rain, which had multiple flushes of weeds, combined with the fact that there was some really less than ideal conditions this spring for spraying. And so a lot of the fields think it sprayed either on time or at all. And so that also contributed. So that’s kind of it in a nutshell.
Drew Lyon: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of stories about how horrible the downy brome was and other weeds throughout the area. And we kind of had the perfect storm, right? A dry, a dry fall. So that didn’t really get the flesh going until after the wheat was planted. And then you get the rain and then the flushes come, combined with seeing a lot more group to resistance in our downy brome populations, resulting in poor control along with bad weather. So I guess the song was on the topic of downy brome. Do you have any CoAXium wheat varieties coming along in the in the variety testing program?
Dr. Clark Neely: Yes. So last year we had two hard red winter wheat varieties, Battle AX and LCS Helix AX. And then also those are both hard red winters. And then for the first time in our soft white winter trial, Dr. Carter from WSU submitted four experimental. And now I’ve just pretty much finalized the entry list for 2023 and we have a lot more — Limagrain decided to to submit a lot more this year. So I wrote them all down here so I won’t forget. Let’s see. So Limagrain submitted LCS Kraken AX, LCS Hydra AX, LCS Dagger AX, and LCS Eclipse AX and then I think there’s a Kaveri AX. I think that’s coming out of the Colorado State Program. I think so a number and that’s in addition to will continue testing Battle AX and Helix AX.
Drew Lyon: So okay and for those listeners who may not be familiar with it, CoAXium varieties are resistant or tolerant to quizalofop which normally would be very hard on wheat unless it has the gene which and are they all designated with an AX? Is that how people can tell?
Dr. Clark Neely: Yeah, it’s just like with the Clearfield system, although I guess a little bit more simplified because they should all have AX not CL2 or CL+.
Drew Lyon: Okay. All right, what are some of the other new when are wheat varieties releases out there?
Dr. Clark Neely: So if anybody attended field days, the newly named ones right before field day season started was the McGregor Company has a new one called TMC Empire previously that was designated as TMC SWW 2021. And then we also had LCS Hefei, which is the Limagrain variety, previously experimental number was LWW 17-8185. As far as like how they performed, looking at the data that we’ve had so far from 2022, Empire had some yield success in the below 12 inch zone. I’d say often it was right around or maybe slightly below average. There were some exceptions there. I did notice it had phenomenal test weight. Oftentimes it was towards the top of the pack for that. It also had really good stripe rust resistance. LCS Hefei I thought really stood out as a really good yielder in 2022, particularly pretty much anywhere any site we had below 16 inches, it was usually in a statistically top yielding group. Test weight wise it was about average. No concerns there. Above 16 inches there might have been one or two sites where did really well wasn’t as consistent though having said that, I don’t have quite all the data in yet for the high rainfall zones. It too was rated really good for stripe rust. I did want to make sure I mentioned Cameo, which is Kim Garland-Campbell’s new club wheat release. I think that was also named right ahead of field day season. It has so far pretty it’s really geared for high rainfall areas, particularly above 20-inch zone. Yield wise, I’d say it’s pretty comparable to the other clubs like Castella, although if you look at the the test weight this year and particularly last year, it does tend to have considerably better test weight than any other club that’s available, so that’s nice about it. It does have good stripe rust. The other thing I notice, I guess I didn’t mention this earlier when you’re talking about the trials as a whole this past year, but we got some really good lodging notes this year that was really consistent across a lot of different locations. So I think when I update our variety selection tool later this fall, I should have some a lot better data for the lodging because we really haven’t had any consistent good notes to update that here in the last three years. But I brought that up because Cameo stood considerably better than especially Castella. But I think all of the clubs, it did a better job standing up and anybody who likes Castella might have been a little disappointed this year because it was it fell down pretty, pretty easily. And then so the other — there’s two more I wanted to mention as far as new varieties, and these were not named for field days. So this would be brand new for pretty much everybody is Inspire, which was previously listed as WA8307. This one is done particularly well in the 16 to 20-inch zone. So like St. John down through like Dayton, Walla Walla has really been towards the top of the pack for yield there. Hasn’t done quite as well, but usually holds its own in the high highest rainfall zones here around Pullman. Let’s see… it did well, you know, looking back at ’21, but also it’s so far looks like it’s doing well in ’22 as well. I’m looking at some of my other notes on Inspire. It has good rust, good foot rot, good C (Cephalosporium) stripe tolerance. Test weight’s probably the one thing it’s not the best in, it’s going to be below average almost all the time. It did look like it wasn’t quite as bad as like CLS Blackjack, which tends to be about the lowest in the trial for test weight. So that’s what I have on Inspire. I think that one will be maybe a good fit for people to at least take a look at in that 16 to 20-inch zone. And then also Dr. Carter released Jamieson. That was previously WA8290. It was tested within the Variety Testing Program in 2020 and 2021. He did not test it here in 2022, and this one was really geared for low rainfall, especially like the Waterville/Douglas County area. Yield’s been, I’d say, average. At least in 2020 it was about average, is well below average in 2021. The main reason they’re releasing that is the has a 510 glutenin, which basically affects the dough strength. So that’s the one main reason for releasing it. It does have good snow mold tolerance, which is another reason why they’re targeting that Douglas County/Waterville area. So I think that’s that’s the newest ones anyway that’ve come out okay.
Drew Lyon: So I know you haven’t finished collecting all your variety data, but where can our listeners go to to get the latest on the data you do have? I know you put out a you have a listserv, you send out information fairly regularly around now. But if they’re not if they want to get on that listserv or if they want to go find the data somewhere, where where can they go?
Dr. Clark Neely: Well, first, if they want to get on the listserv, it’s the prelim data listserv and they should just email me to get added to that. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If they want to just check it on the website at smallgrains.wsu.edu/variety.
Drew Lyon: Okay very good. I think I need to go back on our discussion on CoAXium. I said the herbicide is resistant to quizalofop, which is true. That’s the common name. The trade name, the one that’s approved to be sprayed on cracks in weed is Aggressor herbicide. So for those that may not be aware of that. So every year seems to be different here lately, no less. This year is a really cool, wet spring. Last year was a terrible drought. The year before that was was a really good year for wheat. So every year seems to have something a little different that gets people worried. Did you did you see anything interesting in the trends in your winter wheat studies this year?
Dr. Clark Neely: Yeah. So at Reardon, we did have some freeze damage there, which we haven’t really had good notes on any of our trials recently. And that was really the only site we saw any any noticeable damage there. And I think that did impact the rankings to some degree. There were some just a few varieties. It wasn’t it didn’t affect most of the varieties, but there were a few that got going a little too early this spring. The one that really stood out to me was AP Iliad just, it got smoked in a couple of the plots. I mean, it did eventually come back, but it was basically last in the trial. And I attribute that mostly because I saw how bad it got burned back from the freeze damage. There were some other ones that weren’t quite as bad but still had noticeable freeze damage that would be like UI Voodoo, UI Magic, Applebee CL+. And there were some experimental in there too. And all those trended towards the bottom of the of the pack as well. The other one that stood out was VI Presto CL+. That one historically I think this 2022 is the third year we tested that. It did really well in 2020 and 2021, but for some reason this year it was towards the bottom almost every time. So I don’t know if the seed we received maybe wasn’t the best or or not. I don’t know. I guess one thing to back that up is we took a fair number of stand ratings, at least at the end of the season, and it tended to be one of the lowest ones for stands as well. So I kind of attribute it partly to that. It may have had something to do with maybe it just it wasn’t able to maybe it matured a little too fast, wasn’t able to, you know, take advantage of the longer cooler spring that we had. But that was one that stood out to me. I also want to mention in our hard red trial this year, we included some seeding rates with Keldon and I know a lot of growers are really interested in those results and I haven’t kind of pulled that out from the trial and kind of analyze that by itself. But those results are published in with the variety trials themselves. If you look at that, you know, there really wasn’t any difference in our irrigated sites, which we only have two of those. The rates we use for 750,000 up to 1.2 million seeds per acre. No real difference, even numerically, let alone statistically there. I did notice there were some significant differences as some of our lowest rainfall zones. Horse Heaven, Almira, Bickleton are all statistically different and even the sites that weren’t statistically different there was a definite trend in the below 12-inch zone, the lowest rates we have or 350,000 and 500,000, they tended to cluster towards the bottom and then the rest of them kind of depended on the site. Sometimes there was a linear response where it kept going up with seeding rate. Other times it kind of plateaued once you hit about oh 750 or 900,000, there was an advantage over that. Like I said, we don’t have all the higher rainfall data and yet. The few that we do didn’t really — I had a hard time picking out any trends. There really wasn’t much difference there. So anyway, I’ll probably later this fall when I have time to kind of pull that data apart, maybe make a little report, I’ll probably send that out on the list, serve as well just to kind of get a clear picture on what did best where.
Drew Lyon: Okay. Like I think this past year maybe that stand establishment last fall might have been one of the more limiting factors because once we got into March or April, maybe it was when the rain started coming, we really had almost ideal conditions after that. So. Okay, any recent changes to your program?
Dr. Clark Neely: Yeah. So we were talking about CoAXium and that’s one of the big changes growers or anybody looking at the data will notice moving forward. We kind of have been pushing our upper limit statistically of how many entries we could fit into a trial. And so with CoAXium coming on board, all these breeding programs had additional pipelines that they needed to be testing and they didn’t want it to be competing with everything else that they’ve been wanting, all the common weeds that they want to test. So to do that, we ended up and we had to split out the Clearfield and CoAXium into their own trials, and those will now be adjacent right beside the common software winter and common heart rate winter. So that’s a big difference. So people, just to keep in mind. We’ve also moved some of our locations around. The first one, St Andrew’s. The thought was it’s been there for a very long time. But some felt that it wasn’t maybe the best representative site for that area. And so with the help of some input from industry, we’ve picked a spot that’s a little further west closer to Waterville. It’s actually just east of the little town of Douglas, but it’s kind of right on Highway 2. So that one’s been moved. And then also and this has just happened in the last week, we’ve moved our Ritzville location also that’s been on Ron Dray’s farm for many years. But Ron’s making the switch to no-till and so which is, I think great ,but I think most growers are still conventional, still deep furrow and so it was felt that we needed to make the switch to keep that particular location deep furrow hasn’t moved very far. The cooperator we’re working with, John Chesler, is just a few miles down the road just northwest of Ritzville. So that one’s been moved. And then also Connell, that cooperator has also made the switch to no-till and that’s traditionally always been a deep furrow site. But in that instance we decided it seemed like maybe there was a bigger trend for growers moving to no-till in that particular region. And so we decided to stick with the cooperator and just make the switch to no till there.
Drew Lyon: Okay. Interesting yeah that’s a no-till brings a lot of benefits with it, but there are also some unique challenges. So. All right. Well, appreciate that update on the on the Small Grains Variety Testing Program. A lot of people are interested in this data. Like I said, you you keep it up on the on the website, smallgrains.wsu.edu and people should email you if they want to get on your listserv, which provides very timely information as the information comes in. So thank you, Clark. Appreciate you having you on today.
Dr. Clark Neely: Thanks, Drew.
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Drew Lyon: Thanks for joining us and listening to the WSU Wheat Beat podcast. If you like what you hear don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. If you have questions or topics, you’d like to hear on future episodes please email me at drew.lyon — that’s email@example.com — (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can find us online at smallgrains.wsu.edu and on Facebook and Twitter @WSUSmallGrains. The WSU Wheat Beat podcast is a production of CAHNRS Communications and the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. I’m Drew Lyon, we’ll see you next time.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by guests of this podcast are their own and does not imply Washington State University’s endorsement.