SDSU Agricultural Experiment Station releases new Hard Red Winter Wheat variety


South Dakota wheat growers will soon have access to a new hard red winter wheat variety. After more than 10 years in development, the SDSU Agricultural Experiment Station recently released the new variety -‘Ideal.’

Bill Berzonsky, associate professor of winter wheat breeding at South Dakota State University

Selected for its yield, disease resistance, and standability, Ideal has a lot to offer growers, says Bill Berzonsky, associate professor of winter wheat breeding at South Dakota State University.

“In regional trials, Ideal was a top ranked variety in yield as well as disease resistance,” said Berzonsky of the variety’s resistance to leaf and stem rust, tan spot and fusarium head blight.

Named for Ideal, S.D., a small farming community in central South Dakota where many acres of wheat are produced each year, Berzonsky says the variety, was many years in the making.

“It’s a long process. Genetically speaking, developing a new wheat variety is like playing a card game. We shuffle the genetic deck and select the best traits to end up with the best hand possible,” Berzonsky said of the winter wheat variety, which is the first to be released from the SDSU Agriculture Experiment Station since 2008. “This research and development would not be possible without the support of the South Dakota Wheat Commission through wheat checkoff dollars. This support plays an important role in the wheat breeding efforts of the South Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station.”

With more than a 20-year career in wheat breeding, Berzonsky says it is very gratifying to see his, and the efforts of breeders before him, come to fruition in the release of Ideal.

“I tell people this is why I like what I do. There are scientists who work their entire career in the lab and never see the end result of what they do,” said Berzonsky, who began working on Ideal during its last three years in development.

Along with good yield and disease resistance scores, testing showed Ideal expresses good milling and baking characteristics.

“Growers may not realize this immediately because they are directly involved in production, however, once a variety gets a good reputation from millers and bakers, it’s less likely producers will be encouraged to move away from growing that variety,” Berzonsky said. “It is always nice when a variety that is good from an agronomic and production standpoint, also receives the seal of approval of sorts from millers and bakers.”

Before Ideal could be released, a Variety Release Committee at SDSU scrutinized its performance. Upon their recommendation, Daniel Scholl, director and associate dean, of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, approved its release.

Now that Ideal has been released into the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association seed certification program, and is currently in foundation seed increase program, it will ultimately be made available as certified seed through the efforts of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association.

Scholl, says this release is a perfect example of how the synergy between the Land Grant University, SDSU Extension and the S.D. Agricultural Experiment Station impacts the economic future of the state’s agriculture industry.

“We are a public research organization here to serve the interests of agriculture and the food consuming public,” Scholl said. “The value of having a wheat breeding program in our state is the fact that the varieties developed here are adapted specifically to the growing conditions here in South Dakota.”

Berzonsky agrees.

“In the end, what we do here is about developing seed that will provide benefits to our state’s growers and have a positive impact on their bottom line,” Berzonsky said. “An economic analysis done in Kansas demonstrated that for every dollar spent on variety development, the wheat producer earns about and additional $12 in farm revenue,” Berzonsky said. “According to my calculations, assuming a new variety is popular enough to conservatively be grown on at least one-fifth of the acreage of winter wheat in South Dakota, and assuming the new variety demonstrates a 2 bu/acre yield advantage, at current prices, producers would realize about a $3.6 million annual increase in revenue.”

Source: SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences