WHEAT FIELD DAY SHOWCASES NEW VARIETIES

Writer: Pam Dillard (806) 677-5600, p-dillard@tamu.edu
Contact: Jackie Rudd (806) 677-5600, j-rudd@tamu.edu

  ETTER – Some farmers squeeze wheat heads tightly to determine grain fill and maturity. Others judge crop health by color, looking for a lush, uniform green.

On May 26, participants at the 2004 Wheat Field Day will be able to inspect new irrigated and dryland varieties. The event will be at the North Plains Research Field, a facility of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, located north of Dumas on state Highway 287.

Registration will begin at 10 a.m. The program will begin with a welcome by Thomas Marek, North Plains Field superintendent, followed by the walking tours at 10:20 a.m.

“Our field tours will allow participants easy access to see varieties up close,” said Dr. Jackie Rudd, Experiment Station wheat breeder at Amarillo. “At least 163 trials are currently under way by our state breeding team with many located here in the High Plains.”

Varieties are being tested statewide at locations near Abilene, Brady, Bushland, Canadian, Castroville, Chillicothe, Claude, Dalhart, Etter, Lockett, Lubbock, McGregor, Nazareth, Prosper, and in Ellis County. Two irrigated trials are under way near Clovis, N.M. Evaluations involve types for irrigated and dryland production in addition to several early and later maturing beardless and grazing varieties, Rudd said.

Continuing education credit have been requested for Texas Department of Agriculture licensed pesticide applicators. Approval of additional units for certified crop advisors is expected. Speakers at tour stops and their topics will be:

– “Wheat condition around the state,” Dr. Gaylon Morgan, small grains specialist with Texas Cooperative Extension, College Station;

– “Varieties – old and new,” Dr. Brent Bean, Extension agronomist, Amarillo;

– “Insect update,” Dr. Carl Patrick, Extension entomologist, Amarillo;

– “Plant disease diagnostic lab update,” Dr. Charles Rush, Experiment Station plant pathologist, Bushland;

– “Wheat breeding program and pending new releases,” Rudd; and

– “Triticale, an alternative to wheat?” Dr. Art Klatt, small grains breeder, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, and member of the Texas Small Grains Advisory Committee.

The program will include a hamburger lunch from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Dr. John Sweeten, Experiment Station resident director, will welcome participants at noon.

Other presenters include Dr. Mark Hussey, head of the soil and crop science department at Texas A&M University, and Texas Wheat Producers Board and area legislative officials or their staffs.

Dr. Bean will lead the dryland wheat tour beginning at 1 p.m.

The Etter research unit is a 326-acre facility dedicated to research and demonstrations of irrigation systems and water use efficiency in addition to cropping and environmental systems. The Experiment Station has leased the current location from the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, headquartered in Dumas, since 1988. The original partnership began in 1963 at a site 2 miles north of the present location. The North Plains research unit accommodated 21 studies in 2003 involving 16 scientists and engineers from six agencies.

For more information, contact the Extension office in Moore County (806) 935-2594, or Bean or Rudd at (806) 677-5600 in Amarillo at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

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