by Kay Ledbetter
The Texas A&M AgriLife wheat breeding team once again leads in the development of the varieties producers select to plant across Texas, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA-NASS, survey.
TAM 114 remains at the top of the hard red winter wheat varieties, closely followed by TAM 204, according to the Texas Wheat Varieties report released recently. These two varieties led plantings in the Northern High Plains and Southern High Plains, the major wheat-producing regions of the state. TAMsoft 700 topped the survey for soft red winter varieties planted in the Blacklands and Cross Timbers regions.
“The Texas Wheat Team, comprised of outstanding breeders, agronomists, plant pathologists and entomologists, continues to provide the best wheat varieties available to growers in Texas and beyond,” said Larry Redmon, Ph.D., associate department head and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program leader in Texas A&M’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
According to the USDA-NASS report, in 2020, the state planted an estimate of 4.9 million acres of wheat. For 2022, the preliminary estimate is 5.6 million acres.
“The results of the survey clearly show the success of the TAM wheat breeding program and offer insight into the varieties that are performing best for Texas farmers,” said Rodney Mosier, executive vice president of Texas Wheat Producers Board and Association, a funding partner of Texas A&M AgriLife’s wheat breeding program.
“Farmers support the wheat breeding program through the Texas Wheat Producers Board checkoff every year, and it is encouraging to see that investment paying off as TAM varieties perform well in the field and increase in popularity,” Mosier said.
2022 Wheat Variety Survey results
The 2022 Wheat Variety Survey, conducted from December through January, asked producers to report wheat acres planted and to be planted, by variety, for the 2022 crop year. AgriLife Extension funded the survey.
Those figures were compared to 2020 since there was no report generated for 2021, according to the USDA-NASS.
“We are excited to see these figures from NASS,” said Jackie Rudd, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeder, Amarillo. “Our research aims to create varieties with improved insect and disease resistance, excellence in milling and baking qualities, and improved adaptability and forage performance. This report indicates that the producers believe in the TAM genetics we have developed.”
TAM 114 accounted for 5.6% of the 2022 wheat planted acres, and TAM 204 moved up three spots from the 2020 crop year, ranking second and accounting for 5.1% of acres planted for 2022. Both of these varieties were released in 2014.
TAM 114 was bred for the Texas High Plains, as well as western Kansas and eastern Colorado, and also performs well in most other areas of Texas. It is good in dual-purpose grazing and seed systems, tolerating heavy grazing pressure and still maintaining its grain yield and excellent bread quality.
TAM 204 is a beardless wheat bred for the Texas High Plains, Oklahoma and southern Kansas. It is an excellent heavy grazing and graze-out wheat with resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus, wheat curl mite, greenbug and Hessian fly.
TAM 112, released in 2005, moved down to the fourth-place spot at 2.4% planted. TAM 111, a release from 2003, and TAM 112, released in 2005, which ranked as the top two planted wheat varieties for nearly a decade, are still popular at third, 2.7%, and fourth, 2.4%.
TAM 105, one of the oldest varieties in the survey, released in 1979, moved up from ninth to seventh place, with 1.6% of the acreage. Finally, TAM 113, released in 2010, gained one position at 1% of the acreage, to round out the top 10 varieties in 2022.
Other varieties and their positions were: Gallagher, with 1.9% of the acreage, dropped three spots from 2020 to fifth; SY Razor moved into the sixth slot and contributed to 1.8% of the acreage; Winterhawk tied with TAM 105 at seventh place at 1.6% of the acreage; and Smith’s Gold accounted for 1.2% of the 2022 acreage and placed ninth.
In the soft red winter wheat area, Amir Ibrahim, Ph.D., AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Bryan-College Station, said TAMsoft 700 was co-released jointly in 2009 by Texas A&M AgriLife and the University of Georgia. It targets excellent grain yield under heavy Hessian fly infestation conditions in north-central and eastern Texas.
Rudd leads the Amarillo-Vernon Center of Excellence, which targets the High Plains and Rolling Plains. The primary breeding objectives aim to resist drought, wheat curl mite, wheat streak mosaic virus and greenbug.
Ibrahim leads the College Station Center of Excellence targeting Central Texas, South Texas and the Blacklands, with primary breeding objectives directed toward heat stress, leaf rust, stripe rust, stem rust, and Hessian fly resistance.
The two centers collaborate closely, so most varieties and breeding lines combine the strengths of both, leading to better varieties with a wider adaptation than either could develop working alone.
TAM 114 and TAM 204, both released in 2014, have complementary traits, Rudd said. TAM 114 offers excellent grain yield and quality and very good grazing, while TAM 204 has excellent grazing characteristics and very good grain yields, Rudd said.
“TAM 115 and TAM 205 are the new guys,” he said. “It is good to see them getting started, and I expect them to move up in rank rapidly.”
TAM 115 and TAM 205 were both released in 2019. TAM 115 is a dual-purpose variety bred for the Texas High Plains and offers both excellent drought tolerance and bread-making qualities. TAM 205 is another dual-purpose variety bred for the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains. It provides good fall forage production, as well as maintains an excellent bread-making quality.