Identification of Management Practices and Cultivars for Organic Hard-Winter Wheat Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1996: $93,911.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $61,700.00
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
David Hole
Utah State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: safflower, wheat


  • Crop Production: fallow, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, application rate management
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, value added
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, composting, nutrient mineralization
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, sustainability measures


    [Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact Western SARE at 435-797-2257 or]

    Dairy manure compost was applied to dryland organic wheat production fields in Box Elder county, Utah. The production field is in crop-fallow rotation so two sites (alternate years) were treated in the first two years. The compost was applied at 0 (control) and 112 Mg ha-¹ (50 ton acre-¹) in a split-plot arrangement with compost addition as whole plots with three reps and ten germplasm entries as split plots within the whole plots. The two years of data were combined in a single analysis that was a split-split plot design. Years and locations were confounded due to the nature of the crop-fallow rotation. Additionally, compost treatments of 0, 22.4, 56, and 168 Mg ha-¹ were examined as a randomized complete block design for the single cultivar Hansel (with 0 and 112 Mg ha-¹ compost addition data for Hansel coming from the immediately adjacent split-plot experiment). Yield trials and soil testing in the three years since the project has begun has shown that compost addition results in higher grain yields for winter wheat. The yield effect is not the same for all cultivars and there is a significant genotype by environment interaction. The highest yielding wheat cultivar under no compost addition to date is Bonneville, a high quality bread wheat released within the past three years by the University of Idaho. At a compost application rate of 112 Mg ha-¹, the top yielding cultivar to date is a breeding line, UT1944-158, that has recently been increased in foundation seed and has been replanted in a foundation field on the land of one of our SARE collaborators. The Utah Agricultural Experiment Station has approved UT1944-158 for release under the name “Golden Spike Wheat”. Protein levels in the grain also increased as a result of the compost addition. The linear correlation for protein level was 0.70. Improvements in mixograph quality were also observed.

    Project objectives:

    1. Identify existing hard winter cultivars that perform best in yield, test weight, competitive ability, and disease and insect resistance or tolerance under organic conditions.
    2. Determine effectiveness and value of compost amendments and green manure in increasing yield and grain quality.
    3. Determine the rate of mineralization and estimate number of years of benefit provided by compost addition.
    4. Analyze the economic break-even points through enterprise budgeting for organic production with and without compost addition.
    5. Determine end use quality of current cultivars and elite lines by mixograph, NIR and miller and baker evaluation.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.