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Heritage and Alternative Wheat

Heritage wheat varieties are older varieties that have been grown in past that are experiencing a resurgence in interest. Alternative wheat varieties are those that are a different class than the soft red winter wheat in the region. These could include hard red winter wheat, hard white winter wheat, or hard red spring wheat.
Red Fife: a classic hertiage wheat

Red Fife: a classic hertiage wheat

This project was designed to evaluate some potential heritage and alternative wheat varieties in an organic system. Studies were conducted for three years at  three locations in New York and Pennsylvania in collaboration with colleagues from Cornell University, North Dakota State University and the Organic Research and Information Network. Both spring and winter wheat lines were evaluated.

These data are summarized from the original organic variety reports at The Cornell University Small Grains Cultivar Testing Website. This work was supported by National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA award #2011-51300-30697.

Winter Wheat

Winter wheat yields averaged 44.6 bu/a across all locations (Table 1).  At the PA location, yields averaged 44.3 bu/acre.  Yields of some of the modern varieties, like Warthog and Expedition, tended to be higher than some of the hertitage wheats like Fulcaster and Pride of Genesee.  Red Fife yields were significantly lower and it also had some winterkill issues in some years.  Some of the more popular organic wheats growing in PA are Warthog (hard red), Red Fife (hard red), Redeemer (hard red), Appalachian White (hard white).

The winter trials in PA were generally planted in mid October in tilled seedbeds. Trials were fertilized with pelletized poultry manure topdressed in early spring at a rate to apply a total of 70 lb N/a.  Weeds were generally not a problem.  Head scab was severe in one of the three years at the PA location.  Yields may have been limited by N and would have likely benefited from rotation with a clover or alfalfa crop beforehand at the PA location.  This is a strategy used by some organic producers.

This trial demonstrated that organic winter wheat production has potential in our state, that various classes of wheat can be grown and that in organic winter wheat production the most serious concern is with head scab in some years.

Table 1.  Performance of winter wheat varieties at Freeville, NY, Rock Springs, PA, and Willsboro, NY under organic conditions during 2012-2015.

EntryVarietyYield1
FV
Yield1
PA
Yield1
WB
Yield1
Mean
Yield1
Rank
Test Weight2
(bu/ac)
Test Weight2
Rank
Lodging MeanHeight (inches)Heading Date Winter % Survival
1 Red Fife 29.2 28.2 37.1 31.5 - 56.6 - 3.2 46.5 3-Jun 30
2 Arapahoe 34.2 50.7 60.2 48.4 - 56.6 - 1.8 35.4 31-May 72
4 American Banner 38.9 44.2 49.6 44.2 25 55.8 21 4.1 46.9 1-Jun 68
5 Fulcaster 36.6 38.5 48.3 41.1 31 56.6 13 7.2 47.2 2-Jun 72
6 Gold Coin 37.9 41.9 50.6 43.4 27 55.5 26 3.5 44.9 4-Jun 73
7 Genesee Giant 38.7 41.1 54.9 44.9 18 55.8 22 1.2 41.7 2-Jun 73
8 Pride of Genesee 31.6 39.1 54.2 41.6 30 58.1 2 3.9 48.4 4-Jun 84
9 Vermont Winter Reeds 34.9 39.4 46.9 40.4 33 54.5 31 2 44.1 4-Jun 64
10 Grandprize 37.8 45.0 50.1 44.3 23 56.1 19 4.3 46.5 3-Jun 81
11 Forward 40.7 43.9 51.0 45.2 16 56.3 17 1.9 43.3 4-Jun 76
12 Honor 39.9 45.1 48.7 44.6 20 55.2 28 5.3 46.5 3-Jun 82
13 Valprize 38.3 44.0 50.4 44.2 24 55.4 27 2.9 45.7 5-Jun 73
14 Golden 35.0 38.3 42.2 38.5 34 54.1 34 2.8 42.1 4-Jun 65
15 Clark's Cream 37.2 43.5 55.7 45.5 15 56.3 16 1.7 41.7 31-May 77
16 Yorkwin 39.3 43.1 54.9 45.8 12 55.6 25 6.2 47.2 4-Jun 81
17 Genesee 41.1 50.5 58.0 49.9 3 54.8 29 4.4 44.1 2-Jun 73
18 Yorkstar 39.9 48.0 51.6 46.5 10 54.1 33 2.8 42.5 3-Jun 59
19 Frederick 42.6 45.4 56.1 48.1 6 55.7 23 1.5 40.6 1-Jun 66
20 Arrow 45.5 49.9 63.2 52.8 1 54.4 32 0.7 40.6 1-Jun 69
21 Susquehanna 42.8 46.5 58.2 49.2 5 53.8 35 1 36.2 2-Jun 74
22 NXO5M4180-6 (waxy) 33.7 45.1 54.3 44.3 22 52.5 36 0.7 32.3 31-May 56
23 NXO4Y2107 (waxy) 32.8 43.1 52.5 42.8 29 56.1 20 0.8 33.5 29-May 54
24 AC Morley 38.9 49.9 60.3 49.7 4 57.8 3 1.3 39.4 31-May 73
25 Warthog 40.0 50.4 60.9 50.5 2 57.6 4 0.6 36.6 1-Jun 74
26 NuEast 32.8 50.2 57.5 46.8 8 58.3 1 0.9 30.7 29-May 67
27 Appalachian White 33.3 48.3 55.4 45.7 13 56.6 15 1 31.5 29-May 65
28 ARS05-1044 31.8 46.6 57.0 45.1 17 55.7 24 1.7 31.5 25-May 61
29 ARS07-0785 33.6 44.6 59.3 45.9 - 57.1 7 0.8 30.7 31-May 57
30 ARS07-1214 38.8 41.4 49.1 43.1 28 56.2 18 0 30.3 31-May 62
31 ARS08-0161 34.3 41.5 47.0 40.9 32 54.6 30 1.5 28.0 1-Jun 61
32 ARS08-1059 29.7 40.3 44.4 38.1 35 57.2 6 0.6 33.5 31-May 46
33 ARS09-173 33.7 49.2 51.4 44.8 19 57.6 5 1.4 28.3 28-May 53
34 Jaggar (HRWW) 34.9 47.9 54.0 45.6 14 56.9 10 0.9 29.5 26-May 69
35 Expedition 36.3 44.8 60.1 47.1 7 57.1 8 1.7 32.7 28-May 72
36 Maxine 32.2 44.8 56.3 44.4 21 56.8 12 0.9 31.5 29-May 74
37 Harvard 38.5 47.8 52.9 46.4 11 56.9 9 0.1 34.3 30-May 68
38 Zorro 37.2 40.7 61.6 46.5 9 56.6 14 1.2 40.2 3-Jun 74
39 Redeemer 37.8 44.7 49.0 43.9 26 56.9 11 0.9 36.2 2-Jun 68
40 Alauda 30.2 38.7 43.4 37.4 - 56.7 - 1 44.1 8-Jun 53
Mean 36.5 44.3 53.0 44.6 56.1 2.1 38.6 1-Jun 67

1Yield = bushels/acre
2Test Weight = lbs/bushel

Spring Wheat

We also evaluated spring wheat lines during the program at multiple locations in PA, NY and ND (Table 2). Spring wheat lines were planted in early April, and topdressed with pelletized poultry manure at 70 lb N/acre.  Yields averaged 30.5 bu/a across all locations and 24.7 bu/a at the Penn State location.  Yields over the three years (Table 3) varied from 19.9 to 28.8 bu/acre.  

Spring wheat is not as well adapted to our environment and often heat stress and late season disease pressure is more severe than for winter wheat.  Often we assume that spring grain yields will be 40% less than winter grains and these results are in agreement with that.  Spring wheats are better adapted to cooler environments in the mid Atlantic, like the Willsboro location in this study in Northesat NY.

Weed control was much more difficult with the spring wheat trials than with the winter trials in the Pennsylvania trials.  Summer annual broadleaf and grassy weeds emerged with the crop and can be very competetive.  We used tine weeding in the spring trials in an attempt to control weeds, but that was only partially effective.  

Most of the spring wheats were hard red spring wheats, which typically have higher protein and are better suited for bread flour than the many of the soft winter wheats.  So there is some motivation to grow these in our region.  Red Fife and Glenn are two of the more common hard red spring wheats grown in our region.  Glenn was one of the earliest heading spring wheats and this can be an advantage in our environment.

Table 2.  Performance of spring wheat varieties at Freeville, NY, North Dakota, Rock Springs, PA, and Willsboro, NY under organic conditions during 2012-2015. 

EntryVarietyYield1
FV
Yield1
ND
Yield1
PA
Yield1
WB
Yield1
Mean
Yield1
Rank
Test Weight2
(bu/ac)
Test Weight2
Rank
Lodging MeanHeight (inches)Heading Date
1 Stoa 32.1 20.9 27.0 39.3 29.8 14 51.4 17 0.3 30.3 18-Jun
2 Red Fife 30.7 21.9 20.5 33.8 26.7 19 51.8 16 2.3 44.1 21-Jun
3 RB07 34.2 23.4 28.1 42.7 32.1 8 52.1 10 0.5 30.3 16-Jun
4 ND735 35.2 24.4 26.3 44.8 32.7 7 54.1 3 0.6 33.5 18-Jun
5 Ada 30.2 26.0 24.7 43.3 31.1 11 53.7 4 0.4 29.9 17-Jun
6 MN00261-4 37.9 25.9 28.5 42.9 33.8 5 53.6 5 0.2 31.1 17-Jun
7 Tom 35.2 23.8 31.6 51.2 35.4 1 54.3 2 0.6 32.7 16-Jun
8 MN06078W 32.1 26.7 23.6 43.4 31.5 9 52.1 11 2.1 33.5 16-Jun
9 Steele 35.4 27.7 30.7 42.7 34.1 3 52.8 7 0.5 31.9 17-Jun
10 Rollag 31.5 25.3 25.3 43.3 31.4 10 53.1 6 0.6 29.1 16-Jun
11 Sabin 37.1 27.9 31.1 44.4 35.1 2 52.8 8 0.7 30.7 17-Jun
12 Louise 29.8 28.4 20.9 37.5 29.1 16 49.5 21 1.8 33.5 19-Jun
13 MN06079W 30.0 21.9 24.3 36.8 28.2 17 50.7 19 1.4 29.5 14-Jun
14 Glenn 35.2 26.2 27.6 46.3 33.9 4 55.2 1 0.4 33.1 14-Jun
15 Ulen 34.7 24.5 28.3 44.6 33.0 6 51.0 18 1 31.9 15-Jun
16 Reed 28.5 25.5 21.2 36.5 27.9 18 48.9 22 1.6 29.5 16-Jun
17 Grandin 33.8 23.6 20.9 40.5 29.7 15 51.9 12 0.6 32.3 17-Jun
18 McNeal 33.8 24.7 22.8 40.1 30.4 13 51.8 15 0.4 33.1 20-Jun
19 Thatcher 26.8 20.3 15.4 37.1 24.9 21 50.7 20 2.5 40.6 20-Jun
20 AC Barrie 31.4 24.8 23.4 42.4 30.5 12 52.2 9 1.4 37.0 18-Jun
21 Mida 23.2 23.4 17.2 36.8 25.1 20 51.8 14 2.1 41.7 19-Jun
22 Ceres 25.6 20.8 21.5 30.4 24.6 22 51.8 13 2.5 39.8 19-Jun
23 Marquis 32.0 23.7 26.9 46.1 32.2 52.6 2.2 35.4 17-Jun
24 Dylan 27.5 26.1 24.4 37.4 28.8 51.5 2 33.1 18-Jun
Mean 31.8 24.5 24.7 41.0 30.5 52.1 1.2 33.5 17-Jun

Table 3.  Performance of spring wheat varieties at Rock Springs, PA, under organic conditions during 2012-2015.

EntryVarietyYield (bu/ac) 2012Yield (bu/ac) 2013Yield (bu/ac) 2014Yield (bu/ac) MeanYield (bu/ac) RankTest (lbs/bu) lb/buTest (lbs/bu) RankLodging MeanHeight (Inches)Heading Date
1 Stoa 28.8 21.5 30.5 27.0 8 51.0 16 0.9 32.7 17-Jun
2 Red Fife 14.0 22.0 25.7 20.5 20 51.6 12 2 47.2 21-Jun
3 RB07 34.5 17.4 32.5 28.1 6 52.1 7 0.7 33.5 16-Jun
4 ND735 33.0 16.6 29.2 26.3 9 52.0 8 1.1 37.4 19-Jun
5 Ada 23.9 24.4 26.0 24.7 11 54.1 3 0.7 32.3 16-Jun
6 MN00261-4 34.3 19.1 32.2 28.5 4 51.8 11 0.4 33.5 17-Jun
7 Tom 28.1 25.5 41.2 31.6 1 55.1 2 1.1 36.6 15-Jun
8 MN06078W 29.5 14.6 26.6 23.6 13 51.4 14 2.2 37.0 15-Jun
9 Steele 38.3 22.6 31.0 30.7 3 52.8 4 1.3 35.4 16-Jun
10 Rollag 26.4 19.7 29.8 25.3 10 51.8 10 0.9 31.9 15-Jun
11 Sabin 39.9 20.2 33.2 31.1 2 52.4 6 1.3 33.1 17-Jun
12 Louise 17.9 21.0 23.7 20.9 19 51.3 15 2 35.8 20-Jun
13 MN06079W 26.8 18.8 27.4 24.3 12 49.9 20 1.6 31.5 14-Jun
14 Glenn 31.8 22.9 28.1 27.6 7 55.1 1 0.7 37.0 14-Jun
15 Ulen 35.4 19.1 30.4 28.3 5 51.4 13 1.6 35.0 15-Jun
16 Reed 21.3 14.5 27.8 21.2 17 47.2 22 2.2 31.5 15-Jun
17 Grandin 21.8 16.6 24.3 20.9 18 50.3 19 0.9 33.5 16-Jun
18 McNeal 22.6 23.5 22.4 22.8 15 52.7 5 0.7 34.3 20-Jun
19 Thatcher 13.4 13.5 19.4 15.4 22 49.8 21 2 43.3 17-Jun
20 AC Barrie 20.9 19.8 29.4 23.4 14 51.9 9 2 37.4 19-Jun
21 Mida 10.7 16.5 24.4 17.2 21 51.0 17 1.6 44.1 19-Jun
22 Ceres 10.2 29.4 24.9 21.5 16 50.7 18 2 43.7 21-Jun
23 Marquis - 20.2 33.6 26.9 51.0 6 40.9 15-Jun
24 Dylan - 17.8 30.9 24.4 48.7 4.7 39.0 16-Jun
Mean 25.6 19.9 28.5 24.7 51.5 1.7 36.6 17-Jun
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