Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

New wheat varieties to be released

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 03/05/2013 9:16 AM

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MORRIS, Minn. — Wheat growers learned of three yet-unnamed University of Minnesota-developed varieties during a series of Small Grain Updates in central and northern Minnesota.

The new varieties offer good yield and protein potential with two being favorable for southern Minnesota production.

One of the varieties, MN06028, is being released this year. It offers above-average yield, high protein and excellent end-use quality. It ranks 2 on straw strength.

MN07098-6 will be released in 2014. It has shown consistent, competitive yields and has average protein. In 2015, MN08165-8 will be released. It's very high in protein with above-average yield. The latter varieties both grew better in the southern part of the state.

U of M wheat breeder Jim Anderson said Faller remains No. 1 in the hard red spring wheat varieties. Last year Norden, released in 2012, ranked a 3 in straw strength and 2 for leaf rust.

Faller and Prosper, both sister lines, were among the "top pick" varieties. Others included Rollag, Norden, Forefront, SY-Soren and RB07.

U of M-developed variety Norden rates a 3 on straw strength. That high number is important since researchers are striving to get greater straw strength, Anderson said.

When it comes to diseases, researchers didn't see bit outbreaks over the past growing season. Faller and Prosper were especially susceptible to leaf rust, he said.

Breaker, Brennan, Forefront, Norden, Rollag, Sabin and Samson were more resistant to stripe rust. While there were hot spots of the disease in 2012, there wasn't enough data to rate all varieties.

There isn't much research on drought tolerant wheat, Anderson said when answering on producer's question at the Morris site. Usually the problem with wheat production is too much water.

"Maybe with climate change, that will change," he said.

Anderson is seeing acreage disappear in some areas and says farmers would like to see a profitable third crop.

"We are exchanging germplasms," he said. "...What I am looking for in our program is germplasm exchange. Other companies have global germplasm and they want to access our germplasm because we have the best local germplasm.

U of M researchers are being more aggressive in enhancing yield. Anderson notes that 2007 was an important year for the U of M's wheat breeding program . It was a high rust year and fungicide made a big difference.

"What that showed me was that fungicide can help out in leaf rust and stripe rust," he said "Maybe we can back off a bit on some of those (traits) to be more aggressive on the yield side. "

Stripe rust, barley yellow dwarf virus, aster yellows and root and crown rots were seen in small grains during last year's growing season, said pathologist Madeleine Smith.

A mild winter and spring led to early spring planting. Planting started in mid-March, about six weeks earlier than 2011.

It was a dry season, Smith said. By the end of April, the subsoil was 68 percent short on moisture.

Days were warm and the nights were cool. Those are the conditions that stripe rust likes. Symptoms can occur throughout the plant's life and aren't limited to leaves.

Chlorotic patches appear on leaves first and are followed by the development of yellow and orange pustules along the leaf veins.

Foliar fungicides that contain active ingredients belonging to the azole group and in particular, propiconazole, are effective against stripe rust. The optimum timing for control isn't well understood, but there was effectiveness of F5 application this last season.

Three windows are available for spraying, typically, she said. At the five leaf stage, at Feekes 9 when the flag leaf ligule is just visible and at Feekes 10.51 at the beginning of anthesis.

Barley yellow dwarf is caused by a virus that infects wheat, barley and oats. It is vectored by at least 20 aphid species, she said. The aphids differ in their efficiency by transmitting different strains.

When plants are infected with the disease early, severe stunting occurs. Leaves become chlorotic and may turn red to purple with the tip down, particularly in oats.

Threshholds for economic damage by aphids is 80 percent of the stems with one aphid or more.

Aster yellows is caused by aster yellows phytoplasma and is vectored by leaf hoppers. It takes 14 to 21 days after infection for symptoms to manifest. Symptoms include discoloration of leaves with a distortion of stems, leaves and heads.

There isn't any control for aster yellow infestations. Vector populations are hard to control since they are transient. Some aster leaf hoppers overwinter. It would be costly to require prophylactic spraying.

Several seed treatments are marketed for control of crown root rots and crown rots.