Winter Wheat Blends as a Potential Method of Enhancing Genetic Diversity, Pest Tolerance, and Yield Stability, thus reducing Farmer Risk
The main goal of the first year of research was to publicize the concept of wheat variety blends, demonstrate the feasibility of blends to compete with pure lines, and learn about the behavior of blends compared to pure lines. A series of 11 blends and their pure line components were planted in the fall of 2003. The same series was planted at 18 locations across the state. Harvest data were obtained in 2004, adjustments were made and a revised series of 10 blends and their pure line components were planted in the fall of 2004.
Farm and research station field days were held at many of the locations during June of 2004. Over 100 farmers and seedsmen were in attendance at these meetings. During these meetings, the concept of blends was demonstrated and explained to those in attendance. An article explaining blends was also published in the Nebraska Farmer magazine. Grain yield data obtained at harvest were summarized in E.C. 103, Fall Seed Guide 2004. Based on the results of the 2004 harvest, revisions were made to the composition of several blends. The four-way blends were discarded in favor of more two-way blends. An additional set of white wheat blends was added.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Wheat variety blends were planted in replicated yield trials for the first time in Nebraska. Through 14 field day programs and winter meetings across the state, the concept of wheat blends was publicized to more than 500 producers and indirectly to several others through media coverage of the events. Data obtained from harvested plots across the state gave us a good indication of how the blends performed. Several blends yielded better than the average of their components when averaged across the state. Several blends also did well at specific locations. Discussions were also held with members of the Nebraska wheat board. Some modifications were made in blends which were planted for harvest in 2005.