The Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources released four hard red winter wheat varieties.
The new varieties are Showdown, Green Hammer, Baker’s Ann and Skydance.
This is the first time the OSU Wheat Improvement Team has released four varieties at the same time. Including this newest quartet of offerings, OSU has released nine wheat varieties since 2015.
Brett Carver, OSU wheat breeder, said the recent bounty reflects the breeding program’s maturity and its ability to use many of its products in a multitude of ways, both in the field and beyond the mill.
“We could not do that 20 years ago simply because we didn’t have the genetic foundation, or what I call the ‘genetic spunk,’ to stretch beyond the conventional thought process of growing winter wheat in Oklahoma, with or without grazing,” Carver said.
Showdown features high yield potential and is Hessian-fly resistant. It performs well statewide as well as thrives in a broad range of environmental conditions, including from well-watered to mildly drought stressed.
While carrying some of the visual features of one of its parents, OSU-bred OK Bullet, Green Hammer offers strong yield potential, high protein content and excellent test weight along with impressive leaf rust and stripe rust resistance.
“Green Hammer has perhaps the best combination of resistance to these two diseases altogether at this level of protein and test weight compared to any other offering from this program, and possibly many others,” Carver said.
This variety is best suited for the southwest, central and north central portions of the state.
The high yield potential of Baker’s Ann, along with its strong disease resistance, especially for stripe rust, will appeal to producers who wish to capture the added value in the grain. This variety’s premium milling and baking qualities will be attractive to end users.
“Not since Ruby Lee have we observed this level of baking performance and Baker’s Ann may just be one step above that,” Carver said.
Baker’s Ann will perform best in the Panhandle and north central Oklahoma, but can be produced statewide.
Interestingly, Skydance already is being used in an artisan flour for an out-of-state commercial operation. It also can be used in both bread and tortilla products, a rare dual function an OSU-bred variety has only previously achieved through Billings, one of this variety’s parents.
A good candidate for organic production, though it was not necessarily bred for that purpose, Skydance performs best in southwestern Oklahoma, but also will do well in the central parts of the state.
Seed for all four varieties will be available in limited quantities this fall and in wider distribution in 2019 to current members of Oklahoma Genetics, Inc., a farmer nonprofit that distributes pedigreed seed to producers in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
Currently, OSU-bred varieties account for about 50 percent of the wheat acres planted in Oklahoma.
Wheat is Oklahoma’s largest cash crop, with 4 to 5 million acres of winter wheat sown annually. Additionally, depending on market conditions, 30 percent to 50 percent of the state’s wheat acres will be grazed by stocker cattle over the winter months.
DASNR is comprised of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Story by Leilana McKindra