SDSU releases two new hard red spring wheat varieties

Apr 13, 2012
by WLJ

South Dakota wheat growers will soon have access to two new hard red spring wheat varieties. After several years of research, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Agricultural Experiment Station recently released Advance and Forefront.

Developed to excel in two distinctly different growing conditions present in the two wheat producing regions of the state, Advance is a later maturing variety while Forefront is a typical South Dakota spring wheat cultivar.

“Weather conditions are changing. Climate seems to be increasingly variable, so there is a continued need for improved, new and updated wheat varieties,” said Daniel Scholl, director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean of Research for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.

Adapted to the cooler and wetter growing conditions central South Dakota has experienced the last few years, Advance is unique to other cultivars released from the SDSU breeding program, says Karl Glover, associate professor of spring wheat breeding at SDSU.

“Advance is really adapted to conditions where moisture and heat stress are not present,” said Glover, adding that Advance is a perfect example of how SDSU’s breeding program can adapt to meet growers’ changing needs created by environmental or industry factors. “It wasn’t until 2008, when weather conditions began to change from hot and dry to more humid and cool, that we had the ability to select for what became Advance.”

He adds that both varieties carry yield advantages, have high test weights and are resistant to leaf and stem rust, with Advance being more resistant to bacterial leaf streak—a disease which favors cooler, wetter growing conditions.

“As a plant breeder, it’s my job to make incremental improvements to each variety that is released,” Glover said. “Our overall goal is to increase our growers’ yields and profits.”

Before Advance or Forefront could be released, a Variety Release Committee at SDSU scrutinized their performance. Upon their recommendation, Scholl approved their release.

Now that they have been released into the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association seed certification program, they are currently in foundation seed increase program. Advance and Forefront will ultimately be made available as certified seed through the efforts of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association.

Scholl says their release is a perfect example of how the synergy between the Land Grant University, SDSU Extension and the S.D. Agricultural Experiment Station impacts the economic future of the state’s agriculture industry.

“We are a public research organization here to serve the interests of agriculture and the food consuming public,” Scholl said. “The value of having a wheat breeding program in our state is the fact that the varieties developed here are adapted specifically to the growing conditions here in South Dakota—the weather patterns in South Dakota are much different than Kansas.” — WLJ