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Projected bread wheat shortages due to crop failures worldwide have pumped prices up and spurred interest in growing hard red winter wheat in the upper Southeast. Several new and upcoming varieties being tested by Virginia Tech University hold great promise for bread wheat production in the area.
Keeping protein levels high
Hall explains that a number of Kansas State University bread wheat varieties are grown experimentally in Virginia and used for crosses to develop Virginia Tech varieties that will be more compatible to Virginia growing conditions. One critical factor in growing bread wheat in Virginia is keeping protein levels high.
A number of these varieties are tagged VA06HRW lines and several offer promise as future bread wheat varieties for Virginia growers. At the top of the class is VA06HRW-49. This breeding line was released as a new bread wheat variety by Virginia Tech in March of 2010.
In 2009, it had a statewide yield average of 74 bushels per acre and good bread wheat score of 5. It is a mid-season variety and moderately resistant to fusarium head blight. Its one downside is susceptibility to stripe rust. “This is one, we’re excited about and think it has a future for Virginia growers,” Hall says.
VA06HRW-66 is also near the top of the class and also was released in 2010 as a variety by Virginia Tech. In 2009, it had excellent flour yields in Virginia tests, but performed exceptionally well in more northern states.
VA06HRW-3 is a cross with a Kansas State variety. Yields for this variety are encouraging — 72 bushels per acre in 2009 testing. It also had a bread score of 5. A potential problem for this variety is its high susceptibility to fusarium head blight.
Another breeding line, VA06HRW-19, is an early maturing variety, with a heading date of 121. In 2009 tests, it had an average yield of 65 bushels per acre and a bread wheat score of 5. It is a cross with Soissons and is only moderately susceptible to fusarium head blight.
VA06HRW-30 is another early maturing line with Soissons in its pedigree. Yields in 2009 were good — 75 bushels per acre and some resistance to fusarium head blight. The problem with this variety, is a lower than desired bread wheat score of 3.5.
Hall notes that several varieties in the 2007 and 2008 class offer some additional bread wheat variety possibilities for Virginia growers in the next few years.
“It seems when we get a good yielding variety, the trade-off is bread wheat scores. We have several of these newer varieties that have topped 80 bushels per acre, but the bread wheat scores come back low,” she says.