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Picking top wheat genetics

The wheat variety trials, posted at, are the best source of variety performance information. Peter Johnson offers tips and best practices.

Sept. 4, 2014, Ontario – The wheat variety trials, posted at, are the best source of variety performance information. Pay particular attention to the Managed Performance Trials (Tables 1a, 2a, etc.). These trials show the impact of fungicides on wheat varieties, so you can choose the best genetics based on your management level. Peter Johnson offers tips and best practices. 

Which winter wheat variety had the best survival? 
It doesn’t matter! In my 30 year career, the winter of 2014 was the first time ever for those severe winterkill conditions. The probability of a recurrence of this weather in 2015 is very small. 

25R46 data is missing in Area 2? 
Seed did not arrive in time for planting at Area 2 sites. Seed needs to be available so that planting can progress. We do not, and should not, hold up planting waiting on seed. 

Which variety gives the most straw? 
Straw yield data is very hard to come by. Area 5 is the only location taking straw yields. No, not all varieties are at that location. 

There is SO much information! 
Try using the “Head to Head” option on the website. You can pick your top three or four varieties, and see how they perform over years and areas. 

Do I use Area 1, Area 2, or Area 1/2 combined? 
While we break the data down, only Area 3 is really different, and in 2014 even Area 3 was not different. Using Area 1/2 combined gives the best indication of variety stability. 

2014 data shows big differences to long term data? 
Long term data is ALWAYS the best information to pick a winning variety. Use the most data possible with any given variety. 

In an era of information overload, using this data is the key to growing the best wheat possible, or determining if premiums on any wheat type are high enough to make it worthwhile. Spend a few minutes on the website. It might just make the difference with who has bragging rights at the coffee shop next July! 


September 5, 2014  By Peter Johnson cereals specialist OMAF


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