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Variety Trials - 2011 Maine & Vermont Organic Spring Wheat Variety Trial Results

2011 Maine & Vermont Organic Spring Wheat Variety Trial Results (PDF)

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

Note: 2011 proved to be a very challenging year, especially in Vermont, where unusually wet springs resulted in poor stands and plant vigor.

Bread wheat has emerged as a new crop to farmers in Northern New Englandas consumer demand for locally grown foods increases. In 2010, the University of Maine and University of Vermont began a series of trials evaluating varieties of hard red wheat to identify those that perform well in northern New England under organic production. This publication presents results for spring wheat varieties. A separate publication is available for winter wheat varieties. Separate publications are available for winter wheat varieties and 2010 trials (www.extension.umaine.edu/localwheat).

In Maine, trials were established at two locations: the University of Maine Rogers Farm Forage and Crop Research Facility in Old Town and Rainbow Valley Farm, a commercial dairy farm in Sidney. For Vermont, one trial was established at the Borderview Research Farm in Alburgh and another at Cornell 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 spring wheat varieties that were evaluated are listed in Table 1. All are hard red types except for two soft white types. Hard wheat varieties are preferred for bread flour.

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

Variety Type† Origin and Release Year‡ Seed Source
AC Barrie HR AAFC§, Saskatchewan, 1994 Farm-saved seed, ME
AC Walton HR AAFC, PEI, 1995 Grand Falls Milling Co., Canada
Ada HR MAES, 2006 Albert Lea Seed House, MN
Barlow HR NDAES, 2009 NDSU
Batiscan HR Semican Semican, Canada
Brick HR SDAES, 2000 NDSU
Cabernet HR Resource Seed, PNW, 2001 Tri-State Seeds, WA
Duo HR Canada Grand Falls Milling Co., Canada
Faller HR NDAES, 2007 NDSU
FBC Dylan HR NPSAS/FBC, 2006 Farm-saved seed, ME
Glenn HR NDAES, 2005 Johnny’s Selected Seeds, ME
Helios HR AAFC, Saskatchewan, 1996 La Coop de Federee
Howard HR NDAES, 2006 NDSU
Jenna HR Agripro Syngenta, 2009 Albert Lea Seed House, MN
Kaffe SW Semican Semican
Kelse HR WSU, 2008 Farm-saved seed, ME
Kingsey HR Semican Inc. Semican Atlantic Inc., Canada
Magog HR Semican Inc. Semican Atlantic Inc., Canada
Malbec HR Agripro Syngenta, PNW Tri-State Seeds, WA
McKenzie HR 1997 Semican, Canada
Nick SW Western Plant Breeders, 2004 WSU
07SW04 HR Western Canada Semican Atlantic Inc., Canada
Oklee HR MAES, 2003 Univ. of MInnesota
RBO7 HR MAES, 2007 Univ. of Minnesota
Red Fife HR Heritage var., ca. 1860 Fedco Seeds, ME
Roblin HR ACRS, Winnipeg, 1986 Farm-saved seed, ME
Sabin HR MAES, 2009 Univ. of Minnesota
Steele-ND HR NDAES, 2004 Albert Lea Seed House, MN
Superb HR AAFC, Winnipeg, 2001 Oliver Seed Co., VT
Tom HR MAES, 2008 Univ. of Minnesota
Ulen HR MAES, 2005 Univ. of Minnesota
† HR = hard red , SW = soft white ‡ Year of release was not always available.  § Abbreviations: ACRS = Agriculture Canada Research Station, AAFC = Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, FBC = Farmer Breeder Club, MAES = Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, NDAES = North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, NDSU = North Dakota State University, NPSAS = North Plains Sustatinable Agriculture Society, PEI = Prince Edward Island, PNW = Pacific Northwest, SDAES = South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, WSU = Washington State Univ.

WEATHER DATA

Seasonal precipitation and temperature were recorded at or near field locations (Table 2). The Old Town and Willsboro location each had weather stations in close proximity to the trials. The nearest stations to the Alburgh and Sidney sites were located in South Hero and Waterville, respectively. Spring precipitation was higher than usual at all sites, particularly in Alburgh and Willsboro. Alburgh and Willsboro spring temperatures were also higher than usual. June and July precipitation levels were close to 30-year averages at all sites except Willsboro, which experienced a substantially drier than usual summer. Summer temperatures departed from normal somewhat at each site; Maine sites were slightly cooler than normal, while Alburgh and Willsboro sites were slightly warmer than usual.

Table 2. Temperature and precipitation summary for Old Town, ME, South Hero, VT, Waterville, ME, and Willsboro, NY, 2011.†

Location April May June July August Total
Old Town, ME
Total Precipitation (in.) 5.7 3.8 4.2‡ 2.1 8.8 24.6
Departure from Normal 2.5 0.5 0.6 -1.3 5.6 7.9
Average Temperature (°F) 41.8 53.9 60.6 69.2 66.2
Departure from Normal -0.2 0.0 -2.1 0.8 0.1
Growing Degree Days§ 294 680 844 1127 1061 4006
South Hero, VT
Total Precipitation (in.) 7.9 8.7 3.5 3.7 10.2 34.0
Departure from Normal 5.0 5.4 0.1 -0.3 6.4 16.6
Average Temperature (°F) 46.6 58.7 67.1 74.4 70.4
Departure from Normal 3.1 2.1 1.3 3.3 1.6
Growing Degree Days§ 465 826 1088 1314 1121 4814
Waterville, ME
Total Precipitation (in.) 4.3‡ 4.3 1.8 3.6 6.3 20.3
Departure from Normal 0.9 0.6 2.0 0.0 2.9 6.4
Average Temperature (°F) 43.4 55.3 63.0 71.1 68.5
Departure from Normal 1.4 1.1 -0.1 2.1 1.4
Growing Degree Days§ 340 723 930 1213 1134 4340
Willsboro, NY
Total Precipitation (in.) 6.6 7.8 2.8 1.8 5.8 24.8
Departure from Normal 5.3 4.6 -5.3 -1.6 1.7 4.7
Average Temperature (°F) 45.7 58.3 66.2 73.0 69.6
Departure from Normal 1.8 3.9 0.9 2.9 2.1
Growing Degree Days§ 423 809 1064 1277 1181 4754
† 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).

Rogers Research Farm – Old Town, ME – The trial was conducted on a field that was in silage corn in 2010. Primary tillage was done with a chisel plow on May 2. Solid dairy manure was spread at a rate of 24 ton/acre on May 8 and immediately incorporated with a Perfecta harrow. Plots were seeded on May 9 with an Almaco cone seeder. Weeds were managed with two separate spring tine cultivation events on June 3 and 6. The plots were harvested on August 19 with a Wintersteiger Classic plot combine. Harvest area was 4′ x 34′.

Rainbow Valley Farm – Sidney, ME – The previous crop in this field was high moisture ear corn. The site was moldboard plowed on May 2. Liquid manure was then applied at a rate of 6900 gallons/acre and immediately incorporated with a disk harrow. On May 3, the field was disk harrowed again and then plots were planted using an Almaco cone seeder. The plots were harvested on August 12 with a Wintersteiger Classic plot combine. Harvest area was 4′ x 34′.

Borderview Research Farm – Alburgh, VT – The previous crop was winter wheat. In September 2010, 2 tons/acre of Giroux’s composted poultry manure (2-3-2) was applied and incorporated. In April 2011, the field was disked and spike-tooth harrowed to prepare for planting. Plots were seeded with a Kincaid cone seeder on May 2. The plots were tine weeded with a 12 ft. Kovar Tine Weeder on May 27 and June 4. ‘Pro-Gro’ fertilizer (5-3-4), a blend of vegetable and animal meal, was applied as a topdressing on June 15 at a rate of 50 lbs of available N/acre. The plots were harvested on August 17 with an Almaco SPC50 plot combine. Harvest area was 5′ x 20′.

Willsboro Research Farm – Willsboro, NY – The previous crop was a third year of timothy/alfalfa sod. The field was plowed in August 2009 and fallowed prior to planting, which included dragging the field twice to eliminate any remaining alfalfa and perennial grasses. In April, the field was disked and spike-tooth harrowed to prepare for planting. The plots were seeded on May 13 with a custom made eight-row cone planter, and harvested on August 19 with a Hege plot combine. Harvest area was 4′ x 13′.

Table 3. General plot management of the 2011 spring wheat trials.

Location Rogers Research Farm
Old Town, ME
Rainbow Valley Farm
Sidney, ME
Borderview Farm
Alburgh, VT
Willsboro Research Farm
Willsboro, NY
Soil type Melrose & Elmwood fine sandy loam Buxton silt loam Benson rocky silt loam Kingsbury silt clay loam
Previous crop Silage corn High moisture ear corn Winter wheat Timothy/Alfalfa sod
Fertility source Solid dairy manure Liquid dairy manure Pro-Gro (5-3-4) Pro-Gro (5-3-4)
Target nitrogen rate (lbs/ac) 70 70 70 70
Row spacing (in) 6.5 6.5 6 6
Seeding rate (seeds/ft2)† 30 30 33 33
Replicates 4 4 4 4
Planting date 5-9-11 5-3-11 5-2-11 5-13-11
Harvest date 8-19-11 8-12-11 8-17-11 8-19-11
Harvest area (ft2) 4′ x 34′ 4′ x 34′ 5′ x 20′ 4′ x 13′
Tillage operations Moldboard plow, seedbed conditioner Moldboard plow, disk harrow, chisel plow Fall plow, spring disk & spike-toothed harrow Fall plow, spring disk & 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.

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. For biomass, plants were 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, grain was cleaned with a small Clipper cleaner and weights were recorded. Harvest moisture and test weights were determined using a DICKEY-john GAC 2100 grain moisture meter.

Subsamples were ground into flour using a Perten LM3100 Laboratory Mill. The ground material was then analyzed for crude protein, falling number, and mycotoxin levels. Protein content was determined using a Perten Inframatic 8600 Flour 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 as 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 less than 200 seconds indicate high enzymatic activity and poor wheat 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.

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 3161
B 3886
C 4615
LSD 889

 RESULTS

Growth and Development

Harvesting the Alburgh trial for human consumption.

Harvesting the Alburgh trial for human consumption.

Challenging conditions at planting time and during early crop growth due to a wet spring had major negative impacts on plant stands and overall vigor, especially in Alburgh and Willsboro. Weed pressure also was quite high at these locations. In general, minimal lodging and wildlife damaged was noted in Maine. Due to preventive measures (bird deterrents) wildlife damage was minimal at Alburgh, however in Willsboro damage was severe in some areas of the field due to wild turkeys.

Flowering started first at the Sidney site, with Brick and Roblin flowering on June 27. The Alburgh and Old Town site flowered during the first week of July, and the Willsboro site flowered a week later (Table 4). Brick and Roblin were two of the earliest varieties to flower at most sites, while Kingsey and Red Fife were two of the latest.

The number of spikes per unit area is influenced by tillering, which can be influenced by planting date, weather, fertility, and variety. The Old Town and Sidney sites had the highest average number of spikes per square foot, 49 and 47 respectively (Table 4). Spike numbers at the Alburgh site were low, 31 spikes per square foot, which might reflect poor initial stands as well as tillering. Brick and Glenn had consistently high spike numbers across sites. Other top spike-producing varieties were Ada, Barlow, Helios, Howard, RB07, and Superb. Logically, spike counts would seem to indicate final yield results. However, within each site, we found no correlations between spike number and yield among varieties.

Plant height ranged from 18 to 44 inches (Table 4). Batiscan, Kingsey, and Red Fife were the tallest varieties across sites, and Carbernet was consistently one of the shortest. Taller varieties are more susceptible to lodging, which was an issue with Batiscan at the Sidney site. It is thought that taller varieties may be more competitive with weeds, which could be helpful with spring wheat as annual weeds can be quite problematic. Weed pressure was low and nonuniform at the Maine locations, making it difficult to properly evaluate the relationship between plant height and weed competitiveness. In Maine, where weed biomass was collected (Table 5), there was no correlation between plant height and weed biomass. For example, Faller had average plant heights in Maine but also had the lowest weed biomass. Average weed biomass at the Old Town and Sidney sites, 180 and 212 lbs/acre respectively, were low enough that weeds probably did not impact yield. In Alburgh and Willsboro, weed severity was ranked by visual observation (Table 5). Alburgh’s weed pressure was quite high and most likely did negatively impact yield. Willsboro had low to moderate weed pressure.

Total above-ground wheat plant biomass was measured at the grain soft dough stage when plants are considered to have accumulated their greatest biomass (i.e. “peak biomass” stage). Cereals are sometimes harvested at this stage for animal forage. As well, peak biomass measurements may indicate varieties that could be good straw producers. Batiscan and Faller produced among the highest peak biomass at all of the locations (Table 5). Other high biomass producing varieties include Helios, Kingsey, Red Fife, and Superb. Overall, the Old Town and Sidney sites had substantially higher plant biomass values than the Alburgh and Willsboro sites, again reflecting difficult growing conditions in northern Vermont and New York.

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

Variety Estimated Flowering Date No. of Spikes (no./ft2) Plant Height (inches)
Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Sidney Alburgh
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY ME ME VT
AC Barrie Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 53 42 31 40 36 35 33
AC Walton Jul 8 > Jun 27 Jul 1 < Jul 15 41 32 22 26 38 37 36
Ada Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 52 53 29 45 29 30 28
Barlow Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 54 54 28 57 31 35 29
Batiscan Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 1 < Jul 8 46 47 30 48 38 39 38
Brick Jul 3 Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 52 50 40 49 32 33 33
Cabernet Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 45 50 29 39 23 24 23
Duo Jul 8 48 34
Faller Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 54 50 33 39 32 33 28
FBC Dylan Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 42 42 27 35 33 32 29
Glenn Jul 6 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 54 51 44 51 35 36 31
Helios Jul 5 < Jul 8 49 47 34
Howard Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 58 56 26 43 31 32 27
Jenna Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 53 43 31 47 27 27 25
Kaffe‡ Jul 5 < Jul 15 27 39 36
Kelse Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 48 48 25 34 29 29 29
Kingsey Jul 8 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 47 43 31 46 37 40 38
Magog Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 51 44 35 48 34 38 35
Malbec Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 49 47 37 45 25 25 26
McKenzie Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 51 48 34 40 37 37 35
Nick‡ Jul 1 < Jul 8 24 48 26
07SW04 Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 1 < Jul 15 50 45 31 48 34 32 32
Oklee Jul 6 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 47 45 32 38 32 30 28
RB07 Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 55 55 34 47 28 30 27
Red Fife Jul 9 > Jun 27 Jul 1 < Jul 15 43 39 25 32 44 42 41
Roblin Jul 3 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 42 48 26 37 36 36 32
Sabin Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 43 46 30 27 30 30 27
Steele-ND Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 1 < Jul 8 52 49 35 35 29 33 28
Superb Jul 6 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 15 55 51 35 53 31 34 29
Tom Jul 7 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 48 53 34 50 29 32 31
Ulen Jul 4 > Jun 27 Jul 5 < Jul 8 49 51 17 45 31 31 29
Site Average 49 47 31 42 32 33 31
LSD(0.05) 9 8 12 13 4 3
† 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.

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

Variety Weed Biomass (lbs/acre) Weed Biomass(ranked 1-5)† Wheat Plant Biomass (lbs/acre)
Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT NY
AC Barrie 137 257 4.75 1.50 8635 5772 3107 4734
AC Walton 142 267 4.50 2.38 9083 7117 3518 3281
Ada 205 174 4.63 1.00 7727 6858 2684 4747
Barlow 179 278 4.88 1.25 8331 7666 2582 4929
Batiscan 233 119 4.25 0.88 8486 9525 5174 6271
Brick 320 152 4.13 1.75 6550 6358 4944 4816
Cabernet 212 278 5.00 2.25 6055 7524 2132 3051
Duo 195 7238
Faller 99 95 4.50 2.00 8368 8909 4708 4140
FBC Dylan 110 161 4.00 1.75 7354 7635 3082 6328
Glenn 207 155 4.25 1.25 8608 7189 3877 4920
Helios 3.63 1.50 5026 5310
Howard 194 198 4.50 2.13 8104 7063 2960 3733
Jenna 216 176 4.25 1.63 7843 7463 3600 5042
Kaffe‡ 4.00 1.63 3758 4672
Kelse 96 154 4.75 2.50 8179 7429 3525 3129
Kingsey 182 208 4.00 1.88 8070 9095 4619 3990
Magog 202 182 4.00 1.88 6910 7398 4096 5106
Malbec 196 184 4.38 0.75 7144 6399 4118 4769
McKenzie 199 297 3.63 2.00 7745 6982 3348 4043
Nick‡ 5.00 1.88 3111 4610
07SW04 104 214 3.75 0.88 8093 5833 2894 5870
Oklee 126 231 5.00 2.13 7641 6217 2816 3645
RB07 263 304 4.75 1.25 7329 6692 3031 4566
Red Fife 232 331 4.75 2.13 8363 8092 3669 3507
Roblin 161 135 4.88 1.75 7498 8165 2790 2675
Sabin 215 271 4.75 2.75 7318 6237 3428 2480
Steele-ND 176 235 4.75 3.25 7398 7803 3873 2562
Superb 111 193 4.25 1.75 8372 7164 4973 4446
Tom 168 147 4.63 1.50 7152 8498 3306 5128
Ulen 156 199 4.63 1.13 7536 6815 2226 5407
Site Average 180 212 4.44 1.74 7769 7320 3627 4397
LSD (0.05) NS¶ 0.8 NS¶ 1516 1575 1638 2260
Severity based on 1-5 ranking, with 5 as most weeds. ‡ 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.
¶ No significant difference among varieties. § Variety is not a hard red type.

Yield

Yields for 2011 are presented in Table 6, as well as in Figure 1 in graphical form to easily compare varieties.  Two-year averages (2010 and 2011) also are presented in Table 6 for both Maine locations to provide information about how the varieties perform over different seasons.  Two-year averages were not presented for the Alburgh and Willsboro locations as weather in 2011 proved to be unusually challenging and led to poor performance at both locations.

A typical yield for organic hard red spring wheat grown in Maine is estimated to be about 2,000 to 2,500 lbs/acre (personal communication, Matt Williams, 2011).  Yields in these trials were above that estimate for the locations in Maine but much lower for Vermont and New York (Table 6; Figs. 1).  Varieties with consistently high yields at all sites were Faller, Jenna, RB07, and Tom.  Varieties that were amongst the lowest yielding were AC Barrie, Red Fife, and Roblin.  In Maine, Faller and Tom had high 2-year average yields at both sites.  Other varieties that also yielded well over two years in Maine were FBC Dylan, RB07, Sabin, and Superb.

Grain test weights in 2011 were on the lower end of the acceptable range at all sites, varying from 55 to 59 lbs/bu (Table 6).  In Maine, Glenn had the highest test weight at both locations (59 lbs/bu).  There were no statistical differences among varieties for test weights at the Vermont and New York sites.

Table 6. Yield and test weight of spring wheat, ME, NY, and VT.

Variety
Yield at 13.5% Moisture (lbs/acre)†
Test Weight (lbs/bu)
2011 2 year averages (2010-2011) 2010 2011
Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Sidney Alburgh Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT ME ME VT NY
AC Barrie 2578 2606 711 736 2111 2296 845 56 58 55 57
AC Walton 2736 3001 847 534 2718 1222 53 56 55 56
Ada 2917 3030 992 1579 2449 2706 1011 58 58 56 57
Barlow 2922 3170‡ 978 1604 58 59 56 57
Batiscan 2486 2901 1382 1864 2246 2639 1661 56 57 56 57
Brick 2748 2763 1102 1744 58 59 55 57
Cabernet 2393 3212 351 597 2591 2827 517 52 55 55 55
Duo 2267 57
Faller 3221‡ 3653 965 1634 3398 3457 1580 57 57 55 56
FBC Dylan 2900 2945 796 1101 2958 2756 1286 56 58 56 57
Glenn 2644 2695 730 1863 2489 2448 1063 59 59 56 58
Helios 1353 1165 1148 56 58
Howard 2759 2966 708 1092 2785 2765 911 55 58 55 58
Jenna 3338 3355 1168 1437 55 56 56 57
Kaffe§ 1307 1153 2009 56 57
Kelse 2335 2911 834 1006 2236 2811 1530 53 58 56 58
Kingsey 2437 3312 1297 1243 2637 3079 1794 58 57 56 58
Magog 2695 3257 1013 500 2590 3011 1281 56 57 56 55
Malbec 2800 3203 979 1223 2877 2842 1149 52 56 56 55
McKenzie 2218 2508 847 1593 1146 57 57 55 57
Nick§ 830 876 981 56 56
07SW04 2560 2502 799 933 58 55 57
Oklee 3134 2771 813 1190 3243 2857 1130 58 59 56 57
RB07 3047 3281 695 1526 2906 2999 1113 56 57 55 58
Red Fife 2278 2529 788 477 2172 2261 1083 55 56 56 55
Roblin 2289 2793 758 686 2406 2432 1097 54 56 55 57
Sabin 2692 3058 940 863 2839 2989 1247 57 58 56 57
Steele-ND 2759 3110 749 882 2794 2876 1222 56 58 56 57
Superb 2650 2996 1226 1536 2909 2902 1297 55 57 55 57
Tom 3087 3179 1267 1627 3430 3115 1298 58 58 56 58
Ulen 2816 2755 900 1532 2893 3717 1277 56 57 55 57
Site Average 2697 2980 937 1193 2712 2800 1228 56 57 55 57
LSD (0.05) 417 561 359 525 411 550 473 0.7 0.8
† 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.

Figure 1. Yield of spring wheat varieties, 2011.Figure 1.  Yield of spring wheat varieties, 2011

Text alternative for Figure 1

Table 7. Protein concentration and falling number of spring wheat, ME, NY, and VT.

Variety Crude Protein at 12% Moisture (%) Falling Number at 14% Moisture (seconds)
2011 2 year averages (2010-2011) 2010
Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro Old Town Sidney Alburgh Old Town Sidney Alburgh Willsboro
ME ME VT NY ME ME VT ME ME VT NY
AC Barrie 11.5 13.1 13.3 15.3 13.9 13.8 16.4 358 417 379 441
AC Walton 10.9 11.0 12.3 15.5 12.9 15.3 368 364 312 386
Ada 11.4 12.6 12.3 14.2 13.4 13.0 14.3 366 419 409 473
Barlow 11.2 13.5 13.0 15.3 261 372 305 390
Batiscan 9.3 9.9 11.3 11.9 12.0 10.6 12.5 254 293 228 315
Brick 10.5 12.1 13.8 15.5 326 385 282 353
Cabernet 11.1 11.7 13.0 14.1 13.4 12.5 14.6 292 337 287 373
Duo 10.5 252
Faller 10.8 11.0 11.0 13.9 13.6 11.6 14.1 358 371 332 393
FBC Dylan 10.6 11.2 12.3 13.8 13.4 11.4 13.5 306 343 345 460
Glenn 12.0 13.8 12.5 15.6 13.8 14.6 15.6 329 401 323 386
Helios 13.8 14.3 15.6 384 473
Howard 11.5 12.2 11.8 14.7 13.6 12.7 13.4 288 365 344 378
Jenna 10.9 11.7 13.0 13.9 290 360 232 401
Kaffe‡ 11.3 12.9 13.4 235 233
Kelse 12.6 13.6 14.3 15.4 13.9 13.9 15.8 282 363 319 394
Kingsey 9.8 11.6 11.3 13.1 12.5 12.1 13.8 404 344 379 405
Magog 10.5 12.1 13.0 15.0 13.7 12.3 15.5 388 471 362 432
Malbec 11.7 12.3 13.0 13.8 13.5 12.7 16.4 264 309 296 410
McKenzie 10.9 11.8 11.8 14.7 15.0 360 401 375 412
Nick‡ 11.8 12.1 12.7 66 132
07SW04 11.7 13.6 13.3 16.6 391 444 413 431
Oklee 11.6 12.6 13.5 14.8 13.6 13.1 15.2 319 374 310 387
RB07 11.4 12.7 12.5 14.3 13.1 13.5 14.9 330 300 298 398
Red Fife 12.2 12.4 12.8 14.4 13.9 13.3 15.8 317 333 300 359
Roblin 12.8 13.5 15.0 15.8 14.3 14.1 15.6 210 268 265 381
Sabin 10.9 11.9 13.0 14.5 13.4 12.0 16.5 389 478 332 437
Steele-ND 11.7 12.6 13.3 15.2 13.8 13.2 14.9 293 399 310 378
Superb 11.7 13.0 13.5 14.5 14.0 13.2 14.7 358 400 343 415
Tom 10.7 13.1 13.3 14.7 13.0 13.2 13.3 374 480 380 445
Ulen 11.9 13.2 13.0 14.6 13.8 13.8 15.0 264 335 372 372
Site Average 11.2 12.4 12.7 14.5 13.5 12.9 14.7 321§ 373§ 314 388
LSD (0.05) 0.6 0.8 1.3 0.8 0.9 1.1 1.4 30
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.
§ Average value taken from one sample per variety instead of four

Figure 2. Protein concentration in spring wheat varieties.Figure 2. Protein concentration in spring wheat varieties.

Text alternative for Figure 2

Wheat Quality

Fusarium head blight on spring wheat grown in the Old Town trial.

Fusarium head blight on spring wheat grown in the Old Town trial.

Commercial mills use a variety of measurements to determine if a particular lot of wheat is suitable for bread flour, including grain protein, falling number, test weight, and mycotoxin (DON) concentration.  For grain protein, Willsboro had the highest site average at 14.5%. (Table 7 and  Figure 2)  Alburgh and Sidney were near 12% and Old Town was the lowest at 11.2%.  Wet weather early in the season may have reduced nitrogen availability and overall protein levels at the Old Town site in 2011 as compared with 2010..  Kelse and Roblin are two varieties that performed well at all four locations, with Roblin having the highest protein level at Old Town and Alburgh.  Varieties that had good protein levels over two years at the Maine sites are AC Barrie, Glenn, Kelse, Roblin, and Ulen.

Despite wet conditions at harvest, falling number values were well above the acceptable level (250 seconds) for almost all of the varieties grown at each location.  In Alburgh and Willsboro, Kaffe and Nick were two exceptions, but are soft white varieties.

Fusarium head blight, which produces the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON), is a disease of major concern for wheat growers in northern New England.  It primarily infects the plant during flowering and is favored by cool, humid weather.  The United States Food and Drug Administration has established a maximum DON guideline of 1 ppm for finished human products.  Millers may accept grain with slightly higher DON levels because, through cleaning, they can remove some of the infected grain and reduce DON levels.  In 2011, the Alburgh and Willsboro sites had very low DON levels, with nearly all of the varieties testing below 0.5 ppm.  In Sidney, despite wet weather during flowering, most varieties also had fairly low DON levels, below 1 ppm.  Exceptions were Batiscan, Cabernet, Kelse, Malbec, Red Fife, and Superb.  In Old Town, DON levels were quite high with all varieties testing above 1 ppm.  Varieties that have consistently tested high for DON when DON has been a problem include Cabernet, Kelse, Malbec, and Superb.  Varieties that consistently have shown lower than average DON levels in these trials include Faller, Glenn, Red Fife, Sabin, and Tom.

DISCUSSION

Wheat grain sold for bread flour can receive up to twice the pay price as grain sold for livestock feed, but the grain must meet higher quality standards.  Therefore, when choosing which varieties to plant, it is important to consider their potential to produce grain with acceptable protein, test weight, falling number, and DON levels, as well as to produce high yields.

The 2011 growing season proved to be a challenging year for spring cereals for much of the Northeast, not only for organic growers, but conventional as well.  In Maine, the 2011 average conventional barley crop yield was 40% lower than average yields in the previous two years (USDA-NASS Small Grains 2011 Summary, September 2011).  Wet weather delayed planting, led to poor plant stands and poor growth, and exacerbated disease issues, especially on heavier soils.  The Willsboro and Alburgh sites were particularly impacted by wet weather early on.  Weed pressure and low nitrogen availability also could have been a contributing factor to poor yields at these sites.  In Maine, yields of all varieties at both sites were at or above an estimated historical average of 2,000 to 2,500 lb/acre.  However, DON levels at the Old Town site were above the acceptable level for all varieties, ranging from 1.1 to above 5 ppm, and protein levels were on average lower than the desired 12% level.  The Sidney site had more favorable protein and DON levels.  Weeds were not a major problem at either of the Maine sites.

In Alburgh and Willsboro, no variety yielded above 2,000 lbs/acre.  Under this year’s difficult conditions, Batiscan, Jenna, Superb, and Tom were top yielders at both of those sites.  Varieties that yielded well across all Maine and Vermont sites were Jenna and Tom.  Faller and RBO7 also yielded well at three out of the four locations.  Most commercial mills want a minimum of 12% grain protein for bread wheat, although some buyers have accepted a minimum of 10.5 to 11% when supplies of locally grown wheat were limited.  With adequate nitrogen, high yielding spring wheat varieties can still meet protein levels.  For example, Tom is one of the higher yielding varieties and had protein levels above 12% at three of the four locations.  However, if nitrogen could be a limiting factor to your production system, you may want to choose varieties that are known to have higher protein levels, even if they are not among the highest yielding varieties.  For example, in Old Town, where nitrogen may have been lacking as evidenced by below average protein levels, Kelse, Red Fife, and Roblin stood out as achieving acceptable protein levels, but their yields were average or below average.

Fusarium head blight is a major limiting factor in achieving wheat quality for human grade markets.  Options for managing the disease are limited and include rotating with non-grain crops (i.e. avoid planting wheat after wheat, corn, barley and rye), burying any disease-carrying debris, and variety choice.  While no current wheat varieties are resistant to Fusarium head blight, some have better tolerance to the disease than others.  In other trials where disease and moisture levels were controlled, Glenn has shown to have the best tolerance to Fusarium.  In both years of our trials, DON levels for Glenn always have been among the lowest for any site and year.  Varieties to avoid would be those that consistently show among the highest DON levels at sites and years where DON is a problem.  For our trials this includes Batiscan, Cabernet, Kelse, Melbec, and Superb.  Choosing a tolerant variety may provide some protection against Fusarium, but conditions at flowering drive infection and may still result in high DON levels.  Therefore, another management strategy is to plant two or three tolerant varieties with different maturity dates and hence flowering dates.

It also may be helpful to compare these results from Maine and Vermont to variety trails from other regions. Ultimately, though, it is important to evaluate data from test sites that are similar to your farm and region when deciding which varieties to grow.  Full reports of the 2010 results are available as a separate publication available at extension.umaine.edu/localwheat and www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil.

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).


Acknowledgements:  The UVM Extension Crops and Soils Team would like to thank the Borderview Research Farm and the Willsboro Research Farm for their generous help with the trials.  We would also like to thank Savanna Kittell-Mitchell, Amber Domina, Chantel Cline, and Katie Blair for their assistance with data collection and entry.  The University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture team thanks Jeff Bragg of Rainbow Valley Farm for providing his assistance and field in Sidney, the Univeristy of Maine Rogers Research Farm, and Joe Cannon, Hannah Griffin, Chris Illingsworth, Michael Correll, Jess Richards, and Aaron Englander for their technical help.  Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes.  No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned.  No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

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 www.extension.umaine.edu/localwheat.


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