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New variety pushes Clearfield wheat yield potential

Jeff Caldwell 02/19/2014 @ 11:43am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The Clearfield wheat production system took herbicide tolerance to the wheat-growing masses. Now, there's a new tool in the works that will offer more control of pests and disease within the system.

Kansas State University researchers began developing Oakley CL, a new hard red winter wheat variety that will be commercially available for the 2015 growing season, 12 years ago in western Kansas. This year, K-State wheat breeder Guorong Zhang has the variety ready for field testing. The new variety is touted as both high-yielding, but also strong in drought tolerance, disease resistance and processing.

"The Beyond herbicide resistance actually comes from one parent, Above. Above is the first publicly released one-gene Clearfield wheat variety," Zhang says in a university report. "The other two parents are Danby -- the most popular white variety in western Kansas -- and another parent from our own breeding lines. From Above, this variety inherited its herbicide resistance. From Danby, it inherited some drought tolerance, so it has performed very well in western Kansas. The third parent had the wheat streak mosaic virus resistance. Stripe rust resistance might come from both Danby and the third parent."

Most notably, Zhang says, the new variety has resistance to a couple of diseases that have been especially troublesome to wheat farmers in the last few years.

"In 2012, the race was changed, so a lot of varieties that were resistant in 2010 became susceptible in 2012," Zhang says. "Another major disease resistance for this variety is wheat streak mosaic virus resistance. Now in the market, very few varieties have the wheat streak mosaic virus resistance. It is a virus disease that is hard to control with any fungicide, so we have to rely on the variety resistance."

Previous testing in the northwestern part of Kansas reveals Oakley yielded between 5% and 11% more than previously developed Clearfield varieties.

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