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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Extension: Winter Wheat Variety Selection Tool

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Wheat Variety Selection Guide

You will be asked to answer several questions regarding your needs. We will use your responses to recommend varieties that fit those needs. If several varieties meet the criteria, they will be listed with the highest yielding variety (based on 3-year averages) first:

Wheat varieties perform differently in different parts of Nebraska. Choose your region from the following list:
West Central  
South Central  

Nebraska wheat producers have a choice of hard red winter wheat and hard white winter wheat. Currently, hard white wheat is better suited to western Nebraska, where sprouting in the head is of less concern, than to eastern Nebraska. Growers should avoid seeding white wheat in areas where volunteer red wheat could cause contamination issues. White wheat should be grown where there are buyers (elevators) who can keep it segregated from red wheat. Which color interests you?

Wheat varieties are now available that are resistant to imazamox, the active ingredient in Beyond® and ClearmaxTM herbicides. These herbicides control winter annual grass weeds such as jointed goatgrass, downy brome, and suppress feral rye. Check Clearfield® if you are interested in this trait.

Varieties that respond well to irrigation are shorter in height and have stronger straw to avoid lodging. Rainfed wheat must be more tolerant to stress and can tolerate more height without lodging. We recommend different varieties for rainfed and irrigated systems. Which management system fits your needs?

Wheat varieties prior to 1970 were tall. With the 'green revolution' came the advent of semi-dwarf wheat varieties. They were much more tolerant of high input management practices such as fertilizer and irrigation. The benefits of tall varieties include more protection of the soil from erosion and more available straw to sell in some areas. Are you more interested in tall or semi-dwarf varieties?

Semi-dwarf wheat varieties had short coleoptiles. Thus, they could not be planted as deep in the soil as tall varieties. This is not important if adequate surface moisture is available. Breeding efforts have increased the coleoptile length in some semi-dwarf varieties giving more options for growing semi-dwarf varieties in rainfed western Nebraska. If you need a long coleoptile for emerging from greater planting depth, check Long below.
Some of the stresses on wheat are related to planting time. Wheat planted earlier than the recommended date is subject to disease, insect and moisture stress. Wheat planted late has more challenge with winter hardiness. Choose your planting date in relation to the recommended date for your region.