3. Winter Wheat Variety Selection

By Roberta Armenta

The variety selection process is an important step in reducing production risks and maximizing wheat yield and economic return. When making variety decisions, some essential factors to consider include winter hardiness, insect and disease resistance characteristics, heading date, lodging, test weight, and yield. It is important for wheat growers to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of numerous varieties to find those that best fit their intended market and that are well adapted to local growing conditions. Breeding programs across the Great Plains have produced many improved winter wheat varieties, focusing on special areas of emphasis for the Great Plains region. All current varieties in the commercial market are pure-line varieties, meaning varieties that are genetically homogenous. These varieties are developed when selected genotypes, with superior and desired characteristics, undergo multiple generations of inbreeding. Plants of these varieties are genetically the same.