Submitted to: Wheat Life
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2009
Publication Date: 8/1/2009
Citation: Morris, C.F., Engle, D.A., Sykes, S. 2009. Keeping the quality in Washington cultivars. Wheat Life Magazine August 2009, pp. 46-48. Interpretive Summary: N/A -- Short one-page article in easy to understand format
Technical Abstract: Production agriculture and farmers in particular face many challenges. Weather, currency exchanges, overseas demand, competitors= agricultural policies..... Many of these are beyond our direct control. One decision that we do have complete control over is what variety we choose to grow. Granted, yield, multiple pest resistance, maturity, and emergence drive much of this decision. However, to maintain a strong industry with a strong competitive position we must deliver a consistent and high quality product. In this regard, choosing to plant higher-quality varieties can help your own farming situation as well as that of your neighbors. To assist growers in this endeavor, the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory of USDA Agricultural Research Service, in close cooperation with the Washington Wheat Commission and the WSU Wheat Quality Program provides a quality ranking of winter and spring wheat varieties each year. How are these quality rankings arrived at? The basis is a thorough and complete milling and baking analysis over multiple environments and crop years. Grain samples are obtained directly from breeders and from the WSU Cereal Variety Testing Program (currently led by Dr. Stephen Guy). Those samples obtained from the WSU Variety Testing Program are organized in what is known as the "Genotype and Environment" Study (G&E). As all growers know, grain yield is influenced by weather, soils and geographical location. Because of this, yield of new varieties and experimental breeding lines is usually evaluated by comparison to a check variety that is grown side-by-side with the line being tested. We do the same with quality. This type of head-to-head comparison ensures that we are dealing with "apples to apples.