OK Corral, a new beardless wheat variety, has been released by Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, with seed available through Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stocks.
The variety will introduce greater versatility to farming and ranching operations while ensuring a high-quality crop through the end of the supply chain. It is highly recommended by OSU’s Wheat Improvement Team for grain-only, dual-purpose and graze-out or hay production.
“OK Corral is our best all-around beardless variety since Deliver, which was released in 2004, and overall is the most attractive beardless variety in the hard red winter wheat marketplace today,” said Brett Carver, lead wheat breeder and holder of the OSU Wheat Genetics Chair. “The newly released variety is expected to service wheat acres throughout Oklahoma but especially western areas of the state, as well as northwestern Texas.”
Followers of wheat breeding programs and the extensive testing candidate varieties undergo for many years may recognize OK Corral by its experimental name of OK-12206. OK Corral meets or exceeds the recommended quality targets approved by the Hard Winter Wheat Quality Targets Committee.
Carver said OK Corral is perhaps the strongest OSU-developed variety placed in commercial production since Doublestop CL Plus for diseases common to Oklahoma.
“I like to say what OK Corral does best is corral so many of the diseases wheat producers face in our state: powdery mildew, soilborne mosaic, spindle streak mosaic, Septoria leaf blotch, leaf rust and stripe rust,” he said.
The OSU Wheat Improvement Team approaches breeding a beardless variety the same as it approaches the development of a bearded variety. How does the variety perform in the field or pasture, and how does it perform in the mill and, ultimately, at the dinner table?
“Cattle producers who use wheat pasture tend to focus first and foremost how a beardless variety performs as forage for their animals,” Carver said. “At OSU, we like to give growers of a beardless variety the extra option of being able to take advantage of a dual purpose graze-and-grain opportunity that may enhance the economic bottom line of their operations.”
OK Corral is on an equal level for milling and baking characteristics with Smith’s Gold, a hard red winter wheat appearing consistently on preferred variety lists published by the wheat processing industry. The baking water absorption is no different, although the farinograph did show OK Corral came in less. The farinograph is a tool used for measuring the shear and viscosity of a mixture of flour and water.
“In the period of 2016 to 2018, during which dough strength of hard red winter wheat reached historically low levels in the southern Great Plains states, farinograph peak development time and stability for OK Corral averaged about seven to 15 minutes,” Carver said. “OK Corral’s overall milling yield, dough strength and baking quality are very good.”
Also, beardless wheat varieties typically tend to exhibit a lower test weight than bearded varieties. As an example, OK Corral is about one to two pounds lower in test weight than another popular OSU-developed variety, Gallagher, which is about average for a bearded variety.
“If you look at data across the Great Plains, the test weight for OK Corral tends to drop the further you get away from its primary target region of use, which is western Oklahoma and northwestern Texas,” Carver said. “The yield stays consistent but the test weight drops outside the expected primary use area. Looking at just the target region, the test weight stays where it should.”
Interestingly, the lower test weight of OK Corral is not linked to a reduction in flour yield or extraction rate, even at the same flour ash level observed in Smith’s Gold.
“OK Corral really maximizes what it has to full advantage,” Carver said.
The OSU Wheat Improvement Team does not often release a new variety in September. When it does the reason typically is the availability of seed.
“Foundation seed for OK Corral is immediately available, to the tune of several thousand bushels,” Carver said.
More information is available at Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stocks.
Not to be overlooked is the lineage of excellence that comes with being an OSU-developed wheat variety. For a number of years, the four most popular varieties planted to wheat acres annually in Oklahoma have been varieties developed by OSU’s Wheat Improvement Team.
“Genetically improved cultivars developed by our interdisciplinary Wheat Improvement Team address the growing conditions in Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains, and provide the best opportunity for growers in this region,” said Keith Owens, OSU associate vice president of the statewide Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system, the official research arm of the division.
Owens, Carver and the entire OSU Wheat Improvement Team are excited about the release of the new beardless variety.
“Hessian fly resistance, acid soil tolerance and wide disease resistance, combined with yield potential to allow for grazing and then producing a good grain crop after the cattle are taken off, makes OK Corral a high-quality product that should be attractive to many wheat growers,” Carver said.
Only the third scientist to hold the position of wheat breeder at OSU since the 1940s, Carver said part of the staying power of those in the role is because each recognized the importance of the work undertaken.
“More than a major contributor to the state economy, wheat is and has long been vitally important in helping to alleviate hunger, and with a projected 9 billion people on Earth by the year 2050, that capability is more important than ever,” he said. “A billion people currently consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day. Wheat provides 21 percent of all food calories consumed in the world.”