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Wheat Variety Trials - 2010 Maine & Vermont Organic Winter Wheat Variety Trial Results

2010 Maine & Vermont Organic Winter Wheat Variety Trial Results (PDF)

Ellen Mallory, Heather Darby, Thomas Molloy, Erica Cummings, Katherine McPhee

In 2010, the University of Maine and University of Vermont began a series of trials evaluating varieties of hard red winter wheat to identify those that perform well in northern New England under organic production.  This publication presents results for winter wheat varieties.  A separate publication is available for spring wheat varieties.

In Maine, trials were established at two locations: the University of Maine Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility in Old Town and Sites Farm, a private farm in Athens.  In Vermont, these trials were established at the Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh and at Cornell’s University’s Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY.  This collaborative work was funded by a grant from the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative to improve bread wheat production in our region.

TRIAL DESIGN AND VARIETIES

The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications, which means that each variety was planted in four separate plots at each location.  The winter wheat varieties that were evaluated are listed in Table 1.  All are hard red types except for two hard white and one soft white type.  Only the hard red types were included in the statistical analyses.  Hard types of wheat are preferred for bread flour.

Table 1. Winter wheat varieties planted in Maine, New York, and Vermont.

Winter Wheat Variety Type† Origin and Year of Release‡ Seed Source
AC Morley HR Canada C&M Seed, Canada
Alliance HR NE, 1993 USDA-ARS, NE
Arapahoe HR NE, 1998 Albert Lea Seed House, MN
Bauermeister HR WA, 2005 Washington State Univ.
Borden MHR Canada, 1983 Semican, Canada
Camelot HR NE, 2008 USDA-ARS, NE
Expedition HR SD, 2002 Albert Lea Seed House, MN
Harvard HR Canada Agri-Culver Seeds, NY
Jerry HR ND, 2001 North Dakota State Univ.
Mace HR NE, 2008 USDA-ARS, NE
Maxine HR Canada, 2001 C&M Seed, Canada
Millennium HR NE, 1999 USDA-ARS, NE
Overland HR NE, 2006 USDA-ARS, NE
Redeemer HR Canada C&M Seed, Canada
Red Fife HR Heritage var., Canada, 1860 Butterworks Farm, VT
Roughrider HR ND, 1975 North Dakota State Univ.
Wahoo HR NE, 2000 USDA-ARS, NE
Warthog HR Canada Semican, Canada
Wesley HR NE & SD &WY, 2000 USDA-ARS, NE
Zorro HR Canada C&M Seed, Canada
Anton HW NE, 2008 USDA-ARS, NE
MDM HW WA, 2005 Washington State Univ.
Xerpha SW WA, 2008 Washington State Univ.
† HR = hard red, MHR = medium hard red, HW = hard white, SW = soft white.
‡ Year of release was not always available.

WEATHER DATA

Seasonal precipitation and temperature recorded at the Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility Old Town, ME and weather stations in close proximity to the Vermont and New York trials are shown in Table 2.  Weather data for a site closer to Athens than Old Town were not available.  Weather in 2010 was ideal for growing wheat.  Mild conditions during the winter and an early spring caused the wheat to reach major developmental stages 1-2 weeks earlier than usual.  From planting to harvest, there was an accumulation of 3427 Growing Degree Days (GDD) in Old Town, 5094 GDDS in South Hero, and 5189 GDDS in Willsboro.

Table 2. Temperature and precipitation summary for Old Town, ME, South Hero, VT, and Willsboro, NY, 2010†

Location September 2009 October 2009 March April May June July Total
Old Town, ME
Total Precipitation (in.) 1 6‡ 5 2 2 4‡ 2 22
Departure from Normal -3 2 1 -1 -2 0 -1 -2
Average Temperature (°F) 56 43 37 46 56 62‡ 71
Departure from Normal 1 -2 6 4 2 -1 2
Growing Degree Days§ 700 334 164 426 726 857‡ 1182 4389
South Hero, VT
Total Precipitation (in.) 4 5 3 3 1 5 4 25
Departure from Normal 1 1 1 0 -2 1 1 3
Average Temperature (°F) 58 44 38 49 60 66 74
Departure from Normal -3 -5 7 6 3 0 3
Growing Degree Days 771 396 229 521 854 1019 1305 5095
Willsboro, NY
Total Precipitation (in.) 1 2 3 2 1 5 2 16
Departure from Normal -3 -2 2 1 -2 2 -1 -4
Average Temperature (°F) 60 47 39 50 60 66 74
Departure from Normal 1 -1 10 8 6 0 4
Growing Degree Days 816 427 239 533 876 1004 1294 5189
† Based on National Weather Service data from cooperative observer stations in close proximity to field trials available at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/report.
Historical averages are for 30 years (1971-2000) available at http://cdo.ncdc.gov/cgi-bin/climatenormals.pl  
‡ Values are incomplete due to missing or suspect data.
§ Base 32°F

CULTURAL PRACTICES

Plots were managed following practices similar to those used by farmers in New England (see Table 3).

Table 3.  General plot management of the wheat trials.

Location Rogers Research FarmOld Town, ME Sites FarmAthens, ME Borderview FarmAlburgh, VT Willsboro Research FarmWillsboro, NY
Soil type Melrose & Elmwood fine sandy loam Adams loamy sand Benson rocky silt loam Kingsbury silt clay loam
Previous crop Mixed vegetables/sweet corn Winter rye sod Reed canary and alfalfa Fallow
Fertility source Solid dairy manure Layer chicken manure Plowed in sod Plowed in sod
Target nitrogen rate (lbs/ac) 70 70 70 70
Row spacing (in) 6.5 6.5 6 6
Seeding rate (seeds/ft2)† 30 30 30 30
Replicates 4 3‡ 4 4
Planting date 9-24-09 9-25-09 9-26-09 9-25-09
Harvest date 7-20-10 7-23-10 7-21-10 7-26-10
Harvest area (ft2) 4′ x 34′ 4′ x 34′ 5′ x 20′ 4′ x 13.5′
Tillage operations Moldboard plow,seedbed conditioner Moldboard plow, seedbed conditioner Fall plow, disc, & spike-toothed harrow Fall plow, disc, & spike-toothed harrow
† The target seeding rate was calculated to achieve the same plant density for each variety. This translated to 70-140 lbs seed/acre (average 113), and depended on the seed weight of each variety.
‡ Four replicates were planted but the fourth block was compromised by soil erosion so results were not included in the analysis.

Rogers Research Farm – Old Town, ME – The trial was conducted on two nearby fields both of which had been in annual crop production for more than 20 years.  Sweet corn and mixed vegetables were grown on these fields the year prior to planting.  In early September 2009, the fields were prepared using a moldboard plow and seedbed conditioner.  Solid dairy manure was applied at a rate of 20 tons/ac on September 22 and immediately incorporated with a Perfecta harrow.  The plots were seeded with an Almaco Cone Seeder on September 24, 2009 and harvested with an Almaco SPC20 plot combine on July 20, 2010.

Sites Farm – Athens, ME – The field used in the trial in Athens had been in a continual winter rye forage rotation for more than 5 years.  In early September 2009, the fields were prepared using a moldboard plow and seedbed conditioner.  On September 11, chicken manure (from an egg laying operation) was applied at a rate of 4 tons/acand then incorporated with a spring-tine harrow on the same day.  A spring-tine harrow was used for final seedbed preparation a day before planting.  The plots were seeded with an Almaco Cone Seeder on September 25, 2009 and harvested with an Almaco SPC20 plot combine on July 23, 2010.

Borderview Research Farm – Alburgh, VT – The Alburgh site had been in perennial forages (reed canary and alfalfa) for the previous 10 years.  In the spring of 2009, the area was moldboard plowed.  In August, the field was disked and spike tooth harrowed to prepare for planting the winter wheat.  The plots in Alburgh were seeded with a Kincaid Cone Seeder on September 26, 2009.  Grain plots were harvested with an Almaco SP50 plot combine on July 21, 2010.

Willsboro Research Farm – Willsboro, NY – Planting of winter wheat at the Willsboro location followed three years of alfalfa/timothy sod.  The sod was plowed in August 2008 and fallow prior to planting.  The field was dragged twice during the fallow period to knock down the alfalfa and perennial grasses.  The plots were seeded on September 25, 2009 with a custom-made eight-row cone planter and harvested on July 26, 2010 with a Hege plot combine.

Harvesting the Old Town trial.
Harvesting the Old Town trial.
Harvesting the Alburg trial.
Harvesting the Alburg trial.

MEASUREMENTS AND METHODS

Flowering date was recorded for each variety where possible.  Once the wheat reached physiological maturity, plant height, number of tillers, and wheat and weed above-ground biomass were measured.  Only tillers with filled grain heads (spikes) were counted.  The biomass was cut one inch above the soil surface. Prior to harvest, the incidence and severity of lodging was noted for each plot.

All varieties were harvested on the same day at each site once the latest maturing variety threshed free in hand tests and weather and logistics allowed.  Following harvest, the grain from both locations was cleaned with a small Clipper cleaner.  Measurements taken include grain yield, moisture, test weight, crude protein, falling number, and DON.  Harvest moisture and test weights were determined using a Seedburro GMA 128 grain moisture meter.

Subsamples were ground into flour using a Perten LM3100 Laboratory Mill.  Flour was then analyzed for crude protein, falling number, and mycotoxin levels.  Protein content was determined using a Leco Combustion Analyzer.  Most commercial mills target 12-15% protein.  Falling number was determined on a Perten FN 1500 Falling Number Machine.  The falling number is related to the level of sprout damage that has occurred in the grain due to enzymatic activity.  It is measured by the time it takes, in seconds, for a plunger to fall through a slurry of flour and water to the bottom of the tube. Falling numbers greater than 250 seconds indicate low enzymatic activity and sound quality wheat.  Falling numbers lower than 200 indicate high enzymatic activity and poor quality wheat.  Concentrations of deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin produced by the fungus that causes Fusarium head blight, was determined using Veratox DON 2/3 Quantitative test from the NEOGEN Corp.  This test has a detection range of 0.5 to 5 ppm.  Samples with DON values greater than 1 ppm are considered unsuitable for human consumption.  DON concentrations were not determined for the Athens site, but there were no signs of Fusarium infection on the grain heads.

All data were analyzed using mixed model Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) in which replicates were considered random effects. The LSD procedure was used to sepa­rate variety averages when the ANOVA F-test was sig­nificant (P<0.05). There were significant differences between the locations for most parameters, so results from each location are reported independently.

WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE?

Variations in yield and quality can occur not only due to genetics but also due to variability in soil, weather, and other growing conditions. Statistical analysis makes it possible to determine whether a difference between two varieties is real or whether it might have occurred due to other variability in the field.  The Least Significant Difference (LSD) is the minimum difference needed between two averages to consider them statistically different.  LSDs at the 5% level of probability are presented at the bottom of each table for each measure.  Where the difference between two varieties within a column is equal to or greater than the LSD value, you can be sure in 19 out of 20 chances that there is a real difference between the two varieties.

In the example below, variety A is significantly different from variety C because the difference between their yields (1454) is greater than the LSD value (889).  Variety A is not significantly different from variety B because the difference between their yields (725) is less than the LSD value (889).

Throughout this bulletin, the greatest value at each site for each measure is indicated with an underline and bold type.  Varieties that are not significantly different from the greatest value are also in bold type.  Using the example below, variety C had the highest measured yield (underlined and bolded) but it was not significantly different than the yield of variety B (bolded).

Example Table

Variety Yield
A
B
C
3161
3886
4615
LSD 889

RESULTS

Winter Wheat Growth and Development

In Maine, most varieties flowered during the last week of May and the first week of June, whereas most flowering at the Vermont and New York sites occurred during the first two weeks of June (Table 4).  The Washington State University varieties, Bauermeister, MDM, and Xerpha, had the latest flowering dates at all sites.  Lodging and wildlife damage was minimal at all locations.

The number of spikes per unit area is influenced by tillering and tiller survival, which in turn is influenced by variety, planting date, and weather.  In our trial, we found spike density (numbers per square foot) to be correlated with wheat biomass (i.e., wheat with higher spike numbers also tended to have greater biomass), and weakly related to grain yield.  Wheat at the Vermont and New York sites had higher spike densities than those in Maine (Table 4).  In Maine, Arapahoe and Jerry had the highest number of spikes per unit area at both locations, whereas Overland and Jerry had the highest spike densities in Vermont and New York.

Plant height ranged from 22 to 45 inches (Table 4).  It is thought that taller varieties may be more competitive with weeds and therefore better suited for organic production than shorter varieties.  However, a strong relationship between variety height and weed biomass was not observed in our trials.   For instance, AC Morley, Borden, and Zorro were among the tallest varieties at all sites, in addition to Red Fife in Maine and Roughrider in Vermont and New York.  Yet these varieties did not necessarily have the lowest weed biomass among the varieties (Table 5).  Other factors, like variable plant stands and spotty weed pressure, also influenced weed biomass in our trials.  In general, weed pressure at the Old Town site was lowest and consisted almost solely of the winter annual Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris).  The Athens site had the highest weed pressure where perennial weeds such as quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) were a major issue and contributed to the lower yields at this site.  Generally, winter wheat is very competitive against summer annual weed problems but is very susceptible to perennial weeds.  Therefore, it is important to choose a site with low perennial weed pressure for winter varieties.

Table 4. Estimated wheat flowering date, number of tillers, and plant height, ME, NY, and VT.

Variety Estimated Flowering Date No. of Tillers (no./ft2) Plant Height (inches)
Week of June
Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY
AC Morley 1-Jun < 9-Jun 2nd wk 1st wk 30 31 56 35 36 31 43 40
Alliance 27-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 35 44 80 68 27 23 34 32
Arapahoe 28-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 45† 49 80 63 29 27 36 32
Bauermeister 10-Jun 10-Jun 3rd wk 3rd wk 39 39 72 53 31 23 34 38
Borden 30-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 1st wk 28 36 53 45 36 31 45 39
Camelot 29-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 39 34 58 47 29 27 33 32
Expedition 26-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 38 43 82 68 29 27 32 32
Harvard 28-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 30 36 57 63 30 30 35 34
Jerry 1-Jun < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 48 41 82 72 33 26 40 36
Mace 1-Jun < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 35 33 82 67 25 20 32 34
Maxine 30-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 22 30 49 34 28 24 32 31
Millennium 29-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 35 34 73 55 28 26 37 33
Overland 29-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 36 29 88 74 30 25 35 33
Redeemer 31-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 1st wk 28 34 52 40 30 29 36 33
Red Fife 3-Jun < 9-Jun 26 21 43 39
Roughrider 2nd wk 2nd wk 101 64 45 37
Wahoo 29-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 35 38 95 63 28 25 36 34
Warthog 31-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 29 28 45 45 33 24 38 34
Wesley 27-May < 9-Jun 1st wk 2nd wk 38 43 73 53 25 22 31 31
Zorro 2-June < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 27 24 45 35 37 32 38 39
Anton‡ 29-May < 9-Jun 2nd wk 2nd wk 29 33 51 49 28 23 33 29
MDM‡ 10-Jun 11-Jun 3rd wk 3rd wk 35 34 58 44 30 22 32 34
Xerpha‡ 6-Jun 10-Jun 3rd wk 3rd wk 29 31 56 50 27 24 30 32
Trial Average 34 33 70 55 31 26 36 34
LSD (0.05) 10 11 23 21 1 4 5 5

† For all measures, bolded values are not significantly different from the highest value, which is indicated with underline.
‡ Variety is not a hard red type and was not included in statistical analyses.

Table 5. Weed and wheat plant biomass, ME, NY, and VT.

Variety Weed Biomass (lbs/acre) Wheat Plant Biomass (lbs/acre)
Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY
AC Morley 130 530 0 197 6855 5141 9322 9736
Alliance 63 1019 0 213 5357 4282 8551 9468
Arapahoe 44 1352 0 140 6926 5856 11673 9107
Bauermeister 36 606 208 339 7663 5312 10914 9379
Borden 45 805 11 102 6736 6159 10648 11388
Camelot 34 1334 53 109 7785 5465 8990 8981
Expedition 126 550 20 29 6783 6246 10752 10849
Harvard 64 860 162 98 6853 7605 8894 10951
Jerry 86 817 155 78 8764 5850 12586 10097
Mace 80 1005 51 317 5393 3365 10653 8719
Maxine 229 808 20 627 5679 3104 11177 7982
Millennium 33 763 0 146 5944 5634 9051 9142
Overland 48 1103 75 211 6757 4337 10967 11345
Redeemer 42 748 113 160 5973 6238 9499 8516
Red Fife 127 1082 6741 4245
Roughrider 0 58 13203 10130
Wahoo 58 675 228 49 6423 5076 12898 9909
Warthog 121 1030 0 263 6851 4374 9928 8660
Wesley 48 706 168 257 6457 5909 8618 8923
Zorro 26 707 157 275 7215 5611 8817 8394
Anton‡ 42 698 38 120 6265 5091 8979 9339
MDM‡ 49 1099 0 753 6985 4325 8137 8301
Xerpha‡ 45 1056 36 233 6833 5505 9505 10621
Trial Average 76 873 75 232 6692 4755 10376 9562
LSD (0.05) 11 NS § NS § 277 NS § NS § NS § NS §
For all measures, bolded values are not significantly different from the highest value, which is indicated with underline. For weed biomass, the lowest values are indicated.
‡ Variety is not a hard red type and was not included in statistical analyses.
§ No significant difference among varieties.

Winter Wheat Yield

Overall, wheat yields were higher in Vermont and New York than in Maine, which is likely related to the former sites having more growing degree days.  Differences in weed pressure and background fertility also were involved.  Average yields were 3647 lbs/ac in Alburgh, 3707 lbs/ac in Willsboro,  2785 lbs/ac in Old Town, and 1610 lbs/ac in Athens (Table 6, Fig. 1).  The highest yielding varieties were: in Old Town, Jerry at 3469 lbs/ac; in Athens, Harvard at 2409 lbs/ac; and in Vermont and New York, Borden at 4615 and 4657 lbs/ac, respectively.   Varieties that yielded well at all sites were Borden, Camelot, Harvard, and Jerry.  Varieties that yielded well at two or three sites included Alliance, Arapahoe, Millennium, Overland, Wahoo, and Zorro.  Red Fife is considered a spring type wheat but sowing it in the fall as a winter wheat has gained interest in our region.  In this winter wheat trial Red Fife was the lowest yielding variety in Old Town and the third lowest in Athens.  It was not included at the other sites.  In general, most varieties reach the optimal 55 to 60 lb/bu test weight for wheat.  The later maturing varieties from Washington state (Bauermeister, MDM, and Xerpha) tended to have lower test weights and higher moisture.

Table 6. Grain moisture at harvest, test weight, and yield of winter wheat in ME, NY, and VT.

Variety Grain Moisture at Harvest† (%) Test Weight (lbs/bu) Yield at 13.5% Moisture (lbs/acre)
Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY
AC Morley 21 14 17 11 58 56‡ 57 59 2746 1635 3985 3798
Alliance 22 14 13 11 57 56 56 59 2667 1769 4011 4390
Arapahoe 21 14 14 11 56 55 55 59 2515 1853 4041 4439
Bauermeister 25 15 17 11 54 50 51 56 2656 1158 3176 3146
Borden 20 14 15 9 55 53 54 58 3344 2127 4615 4657
Camelot 22 14 16 11 57 55 56 59 2887 1962 3631 4121
Expedition 22 14 16 12 58 56 56 60 2656 2371 3466 4173
Harvard 19 15 16 14 58 56 56 60 3247 2409 3237 4303
Jerry 21 14 15 10 57 55 56 59 3469 1897 4408 4432
Mace 20 14 12 10 57 53 54 57 2384 762 3653 3337
Maxine 19 14 15 11 59 55 57 58 2388 1788 3692 2822
Millennium 22 14 16 11 58 56 56 59 2511 1521 4319 4397
Overland 22 15 16 11 57 55 56 59 3001 1645 4208 4372
Redeemer 19 13 15 12 59 56 57 58 2652 1905 3886 3043
Red Fife 20 13 58 56 1923 1313
Roughrider 15 10 57 60 3423 3798
Wahoo 21 14 14 10 56 55 55 59 2797 1724 3881 4451
Warthog 20 13 17 11 58 55 57 58 3387 1444 3580 3178
Wesley 21 14 12 9 57 54 55 57 2679 1676 3661 4054
Zorro 19 14 15 13 59 55 56 59 3145 2091 2836 3746
Anton§ 21 14 14 11 58 55 56 59 2637 1574 3521 3413
MDM§ 27 15 15 10 56 47 51 56 2830 843 2606 3315
Xerpha§ 22 14 12 7 54 53 51 50 3496 1530 3135 2095
Trial Average 21 14 15 11 57 55 55 58 2785 1610 3647 3707
LSD (0.05) 1 NS 2 1 2 695 539 NS 564
All varieties at each site were harvested on the same day.
‡ For all measures, bolded values are not significantly different from the highest value, which is indicated with an underline.
§ Variety is not a hard red type and was not included in the statistical analyses.
¶ No significant difference among varieties.

Figure 1. Yield of winter wheat varieties.

Figure 1. Yield of winter wheat varieties.

Text alternative for Figure 1

Winter Wheat Quality

Commercial mills use a variety of measurements to determine if a particular lot of wheat grain is suitable for bread flour, including grain protein, falling number, test weight, and mycotoxin (DON) concentration.  Overall, crude protein was higher in Athens and Willsboro (12.0 and 13.0%, respectively) than in Old Town and Alburgh (10.7 and 10.8%, respectively; Table 7, Fig. 2).  Maxine and Redeemer had were among the top protein varieties at all sites.  Other varieties with relatively high protein levels at two or more sites AC Morley, Red Fife, Roughrider, and Zorro.  There were no statistically significant differences among the crude protein levels at the Athens site.  Almost every variety had acceptable falling number levels based on mill standards (>250 seconds).  Xerpha and MDM, which are not hard red varieties, were exceptions.

There were few signs of Fusarium head blight at either of the Maine sites, and DON levels measured for the varieties grown at Old Town were all under the 1 ppm limit for human consumption.  DON levels were not measured for the Athen site.  The fungus that causes Fusarium head blight and produces DON infects the plants through the flower.  Conditions were dry just before and during flowering in Maine which would have prevented innoculum from building up and infecting plants.  In contrast, in Vermont and New York, a few varieties exceeded the 1 ppm standard.  In particular, the three Washington state varieties (Bauermeister, MDM, and Xerpha) had the highest levels, which could be related to their later flowering time or to the fact that these varieties were developed in a region with low Fusarium disease pressure.

Table 7. Quality of winter wheat, ME, NY, and VT.

Variety Crude Protein at 12%Moisture (%) Falling Number at 14%Moisture (seconds) DON (ppm)
Old Town Athens Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME VT NY ME VT NY
AC Morley 10.8 12.1 12.1 13.1 383 368 349 < 0.5 0.6 0.7
Alliance 10.4 11.5 9.9 12.4 283 346 333 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 0.5
Arapahoe 11.0 12.0 11.2 13.0 397 396 400 < 0.5 0.6 0.6
Bauermeister 10.1 11.8 11.4 13.5 443 380 375 < 0.5 5.6 4.2
Borden 10.1 11.6 9.7 12.1 393 364 361 < 0.5 < 0.5 0.5
Camelot 10.7 11.9 11.1 13.1 415 395 386 < 0.5 0.6 0.4
Expedition 10.2 12.1 10.1 13.1 404 388 363 < 0.5 0.6 0.8
Harvard 9.6 11.3 9.7 12.2 300 374 363 < 0.5 1.9 0.6
Jerry 10.9 12.1 10.7 12.7 371 381 376 < 0.5 2.1 < 0.5
Mace 10.8 12.0 11.5 12.9 429 388 387 < 0.5 0.9 0.9
Maxine 11.7† 12.3 10.8 13.6 292 385 375 < 0.5 < 0.5 0.8
Millennium 10.8 12.1 10.0 12.8 388 376 378 < 0.5 < 0.5 1.0
Overland 10.5 12.1 9.6 12.8 416 382 399 < 0.5 0.8 < 0.5
Redeemer 11.5 12.0 12.9 14.3 426 421 420 < 0.5 < 0.5 < 0.5
Red Fife 11.7 12.3 386 < 0.5
Roughrider 11.4 13.6 399 365 0.6 0.8
Wahoo 10.1 11.9 9.5 13.1 381 377 379 < 0.5 2.0 0.9
Warthog 10.7 12.1 11.1 13.1 426 412 422 < 0.5 1.0 0.9
Wesley 10.6 12.5 10.8 12.8 406 382 377 < 0.5 0.7 1.4
Zorro 10.6 11.8 12.1 13.1 297 370 342 < 0.5 0.9 0.9
Anton‡ 10.9 11.9 11.5 13.7 342 355 236 0.5 1.8 2.4
MDM‡ 10.5 12.7 11.5 13.7 306 272 224 < 0.5 9.2 10.1
Xerpha‡ 10.0 11.9 11.1 13.3 248 211 209 0.8 7.5 8.9
Trial Average 10.7 12.0 10.8 13.0 389 383 376 1.7 1.7
LSD (0.05) 0.7 NS § 1.5 1.1 33 24 27 1.9 0.9
For all measures, bolded values are not significantly different from the highest value, which is indicated with an underline.
Variety is not a hard red type and was not included in the statistical analyses.
§ No significant difference among varieties.

Figure 2. Protein concentration in winter wheat varieties.

Figure 2. Protein concentration in winter wheat varieties.

Text alternative for Figure 2

DISCUSSION

Visitors tour the winter wheat variety trial at the 2010 University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Field Day at Rogers Research Farm.

Visitors tour the winter wheat variety trial at the 2010 University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Field Day at Rogers Research Farm.

It is important to note that the results presented in this report are from just one year of data and do not necessarily reflect how the varieties would perform in different years.  We will repeat these trials in 2011.  However, some observations are worth noting at this point.  Historical yields for organic hard red winter wheat grown in this region over the last 10 years are estimated to be 2500 lbs/ac (personal communication, Matt Williams, 2011).  Average yields in these trials exceeded this average at three of the four sites.  The average yield in Willsboro (3707 lbs/ac) and Alburgh (3647 lbs/ac) was higher than in Old Town (2785 lbs/ac) and much higher than in Athens (1610 lbs/ac).  High weed pressure and low background fertility contributed to poor growing conditions at the Athens site.  The relative performance of each variety was not always consistent across locations, due likely to such differences in growing conditions and soil type.  For instance, a few varieties that were in the top-yielding group in Old Town, yielded relatively poorly in Athens (ex. Warthog); and others that were top yielders in Athens were not in the top group in Old Town (ex. Expedition).  Yet some varieties yielded consistently well at all sites, including Borden, Camelot, Harvard, and Jerry.   In addition, Zorro performed well in Maine, and Alliance, Arapahoe, and Millennium performed well in New York and Vermont.

Crude protein levels were highest at the Athens and Willsboro sites, with nearly all varieties at or above 12%, the standard cutoff for good baking characteristics.  High yields are often associated with lower protein as seen at the Old Town site.  This was not the case at the Willsboro site, however, where yields were high and accompanied high protein levels.  Redeemer stands out for being a variety that consistently yielded close to or above the historical level and also had relatively high grain protein values at all sites.

One variety new to the Northeast that showed promise in our trials is Jerry.  While not always the top performer for each measurement, Jerry was among the top yielders at all sites and had relatively good grain protein levels.  We’re looking forward to seeing how it performs next year.

Before selecting varieties, it may be helpful to compare these results to variety trials from other regions.  Ultimately, though, it is important to evaluate data from test sites that are similar to your farm and region in terms of soil type and climate when deciding which varieties to grow.


Acknowledgements:  In Maine, we thank Luke Sites of Sites Farm for providing his assistance and field in Athens, and Sabrina Correll, Hannah Griffin, Lisa Gross, Greta Landis, and Joe Cannon for their technical help.  In Vermont, we thank the Borderview Reserach Farm and the Willsboro Research Farm for their generous help with the trials.

This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Organic Research and Extension Initiative under Award No. 2009-01366, “Enhancing farmers’ capacity to produce high quality organic bread wheat.”

Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.  Call 800-287-0271 or TDD 800-287-8957 (in Maine), or 207-581-3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.


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