UNL program sprouts wheats
A new wheat variety coming out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s breeding program stands to heighten interest in irrigated wheat.
NIO4421, the first irrigated wheat to be released from that program, offers superior performance not only under irrigation, but also under dryland conditions in western Nebraska, says Steve Baenziger, small grains breeding geneticist at UNL.
While NIO4421 is the variety identification number, it will be marketed for commercial use as Husker Genetics Brand Robidoux, after French trader Antoine Robidoux who had a trading post on one of the passes between Nebraska and Wyoming, Baenziger says. The variety was developed jointly by UNL researchers, the University of Wyoming Experiment Station and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
Baenziger says a comparable wheat to NIO4421 is Wesley, but the former has a white shaft compared to Wesley’s bronze shaft. Wesley still performs well under irrigation, but NIO4421 seems to yield better in hot and drier climates.
“Overall, it did better than Wesley by 4 bushels in irrigated trials, but performed better with a little drought stress,” he says. “It is a very good irrigated wheat if you are shooting for 100 to 110 bushels per acre. If you are shooting for 125 bushels per acre, there are wheats that will do better. However, this one has less risk.”
NIO4421 is one of two new hard red winter wheat releases for Nebraska producers. The other is NEO1481. It was released this year and will be marketed as Husker Genetics McGill, in honor of Dave McGill, former genetics professor at UNL.
NEO1481 is well-adapted to dryland wheat production systems in eastern and west-central Nebraska and offers excellent resistance to wheat soilborne mosaic virus.
“NEO1481 is a high-quality wheat that gives us disease resistance we haven’t had in a long time, and it is adapted and does very well in the east and southeast,” Baenziger says. “This trait was needed in southeast and south-central Nebraska where the disease is present in early wheat plantings.”
Baenziger compares NEO1481 to Overland, which was superior for grain yields and had a tremendous disease-resistance package, but was susceptible to soilborne mosaic.
Compiled by staff and from information in the summer 2010 newsletter of the UNL Agricultural Research Division.
This article published in the October, 2010 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.