After four years of drought, AgriLife produces high yields of wheat

Video: Texas A&M AgriLife

After four years of drought, plus a battle with stripe rust and a hailed-out crop last year, it was a nice change this year to reap 65-70 bushel-per-acre of dryland wheat and 90-100 bushel-per-acre of irrigated wheat, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeder  said.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Jackie C. Rudd, a professor of agronomy and a Regents Fello at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo . “It was outstanding this year because of the high yields. As a breeding program, what we do is develop new varieties for this area, and the research is all dependent on the environments we get.”

Developing a new wheat variety is a 10-15 year process, so after the four drought years of 2011-14 and last year’s heavy stripe rust, “varieties that made it through are showing the best drought tolerance I can honestly say that we have ever had.

“This year we were able to see the high yields on top of the drought tolerance and on top of the disease resistance,” Rudd said.

He said several experimental lines looked promising. TAM 111 and TAM 112 are generally used as the germplasm base for these experimental lines.

“Those two varieties did quite well this year, but we had experimental lines that have better drought tolerance than TAM 112 and are higher-yielding than both TAM 111 and TAM 112.”

Additionally, TAM 113 and TAM 114 are some of the Texas A&M wheat breeding program’s newer varieties for the High Plains, and they did extremely well also, he said.

Rudd said the varieties are not only adapted to the Texas Panhandle and High Plains, but are grown all the way from the southern plains of Texas to Nebraska.

The reason they are so adaptable, he said, is they are tested in research plots across Texas.

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