Grain and forage yields for the 1994-95 winter cereal production season were below normal in all areas of the state. High rainfall resulting in a higher incidence of leaf rust and other diseases was the primary reason for lower yields. Some local fields of forage wheat were also affected by root rot, especially where soils were waterlogged for long periods of time.
The upside of the past production year was that wheat and barley prices increased and continue to be strong as the 1995-96 season approaches. While yields were down last season, for the most part grain quality was high.
Now is the time to begin planning for the 1995-96 season. In this newsletter, a five year, multi-location production history is given for hard red and hard white wheat and barley varieties based on evaluations conducted by UC Cooperative Extension. A brief discussion is also provided to help interpret the production histories.
Hard Red and Hard White Wheat Variety Selections:
Table 1 and 2 provide yield and protein comparisons of Yecora Rojo, Yolo, and 7 other varieties that have been evaluated the past 5 years at UC Davis, and in Kings, and Merced Counties.
Two hard red wheat varieties, Brooks and Express, offer improved yield potential and protein compared to Yecora Rojo. Brooks yielded higher than Yecora Rojo in 14 of 15 tests conducted in the San Joaquin Valley from 1991-1995. Yields averaged 446 and 372 lbs/ac more than Yecora Rojo in Kings and Merced Counties, respectively, but 90 lbs/ac less at UC Davis. Brooks out-yielded Yolo by 336 lbs/ac in Kings and by 794 lb/ac in Merced Counties but yielded 483 lbs/ac less at UC Davis.
Express averaged 84 and 184 lbs/ac more grain than Yecora Rojo in the Kings and UC Davis tests, respectively. However, Express yields averaged 350 lbs/ac less in the same 5 years of testing in Merced County. Yolo out-yielded Express at UC Davis by 209 lbs/ac, was about the same in Kings County, but Express was slightly higher yielding (72 lbs/ac) than Yolo in Merced.
Both Express and Yecora Rojo have averaged 13.8 percent protein during the past 5 years in the Kings County trials while Yecora Rojo averaged 13.4 percent protein. Brooks averaged 13.4 percent protein and Express averaged 13.6 percent during 4 years of evaluation in trials in Kern County. In comparison, Yecora Rojo averaged 13.3 percent in the same Kern County tests.
Brooks was developed by Western Plant Breeders and is marketed by Continental Grain Company. This variety has improved resistance to leaf rust and barley yellow dwarf virus. It can lodge under certain conditions but to no greater extent than Yecora Rojo. It matures within about 4 days after Yecora Rojo so its water requirement should be similar.
The variety Express was also developed by Western Plant Breeders. It too has improved resistance to leaf rust. It is about 7-10 days later maturing than Yecora Rojo and Brooks, thereby, possibly requiring later irrigation. It has greater lodging resistance than either Yecora Rojo or Brooks.
Two other varieties offer alternatives to Yecora Rojo as well. Klasic is a hard white wheat which averaged 294, 210, and 254 lbs/ac more grain during the past 5 years of trials in Kings, UC Davis, and Merced Counties, respectively. Protein levels tend to average 0.5 to 1.0 percentage point lower than Yecora Rojo but can be managed successfully with late season nitrogen fertility and irrigation. Its maturity is similar to Yecora Rojo. Compared with Yolo, Klasic yielded better in Kings and Merced (184 and 676 lbs/ac respectively) but Yolo performed better at UC Davis by 183 lbs/ac.
RSI 5 is a new variety available through Resource Seeds Incorporated. It has increased yield potential compared to Yecora Rojo mostly due to improved resistance to leaf rust. In the last 3 years of UC evaluations, it averaged 533, 1383, and 107 lbs/ac more grain than Yecora Rojo, in Kings, UC Davis, and Merced trials, respectively. Similarly, it yielded 553, 586, 363 lbs/acre more than Yolo in the same trials. It also tends to yield slightly higher than Brooks or Express. However, grain protein has been considerably lower in this variety than Yecora Rojo, Brooks, or Express each of the past 3 seasons. It shows promise for a high yielding feed wheat, and will likely be used for winter forage instead of Yecora Rojo in the southern San Joaquin Valley. It matures approximately 5 days later than Yecora Rojo and is a bearded variety.
November 5, 1999