Wheat variety trials showcasing drought tolerance  

A wheat breeder says disease pressure is limited in on-farm trials this year because of dry weather in Michigan.

Michigan State University’s Eric Olson regularly studies genetic resistance to fusarium head scab.

“We have not seen a significant level of disease across the state this year,” he shares.  “However, in our scab nursery on campus we are just starting to see the beginnings of the epidemic.”

Trial results will be published in August which Olson tells Brownfield will offer insights into the best yielding varieties during dry conditions.

“All locations have struggled to some degree with drought, but in the Thumb and then actually down in Southeast Michigan is looking pretty good right now in terms of yield potential,” he says.  “It’s really Mid-Michigan that’s seen a lot of drought stress.”

Olson recommends farmers plant disease-resistant wheat and apply fungicides at flowering to control scab.

Brownfield interviewed Olson during the Michigan Wheat Program Summer Field Day.

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