Winter Wheat Blends as a Potential Method of Enhancing Genetic Diversity, Pest Tolerance, and Yield Stability, thus reducing Farmer Risk
Wheat varieties which contain complementary genetic traits but similar phenotypic traits were blended together in equal proportions and compared to the same varieties grown separately. Data collected to date indicate some improvement in yield of specific blends compared to their components. Long term economic viability of this concept is still undetermined.
The main goal of the this 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 10 blends and their pure line components were planted in the fall of 2004. The same series was planted at 18 locations across the state.
Harvest data were obtained in 2005, and a series of 10 blends and their pure line components were planted in the fall of 2005.
Farm and research station field days were held at many of the locations during June of 2005. 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. Grain yield data obtained at harvest were summarized in E.C. 103, Fall Seed Guide 2005. Wheat blends planted in the fall of 2005 for harvest in 2006 were the same as those planted the previous year. Plots are in place for field days in June of 2006 and the final harvest data.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Wheat variety blends were planted in replicated yield trials across 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 Crop Improvement members. Discussions with seedsmen throughout the state are used to promote the idea of wheat blends.