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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Bentley tops in 2015-16 Oklahoma variety performance tests

STILLWATER, Okla. – The results from this year’s growing wheat season are in and Bentley, a hard red winter variety developed by the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, was among the best performers across Oklahoma.

With 17 trial locations statewide reporting data as part of the 2015-16 Oklahoma Small Grains Variety Performance Tests, Bentley ranked first among the varieties planted at all 17 locations while two other popular OSU varieties, Gallagher and Iba, also landed in the top five.

“Bentley came out on top, but WB-Grainfield was a close second. Next was TAM 204, followed by Iba and Gallagher. We’re talking about a five-bushel spread, 68 to 63 bushels, among those five varieties,” said David Marburger, OSU Extension small grains specialist.

In a departure from most years in Oklahoma, the growing season was marked with good rainfall and near optimal growing conditions at critical points in the crop’s development, Marburger said.

While Bentley is currently being targeted toward north central to southwestern Oklahoma because of its strong drought tolerance, drought was not a significant factor during critical points in the growing season. The variety still performed well, especially in northern parts of the state.

“Bentley has high yield potential, and it’s also a pretty good forage-producing variety. This past year in our forage trial results, it was one of the varieties that was among the top. There are some varieties, like Gallagher, that might be just a little better fall forage-producer, but overall it’s still a good dual-purpose variety,” Marburger said. “It has pretty good acid soil tolerance so if you have a soil pH lower than about 5.5, it’s a variety that can perform well in those conditions.”

Bentley also has excellent baking and milling qualities.

Heading into the 2016-17 growing season, Marburger said he anticipates producers will really be focused on ways to maintain fall forage production with minimal inputs given ongoing depressed wheat prices.

Specifically, producers will be taking a hard look at wheat varieties that come out of the ground quickly, produce lots of fall forage and recover from grazing in the spring.

“Producers are going to be looking for a variety that’s good in that dual purpose system. One of those characteristics is one that’s later to first hollow stem,” Marburger said. “There might be some producers who are thinking if the wheat prices continue to be where they’re at by next spring, and cattle prices go up, they might go on and graze-out or make hay instead. In that case, it’d be having a later-maturing variety and trying to give as much time as we can for those cattle if you’re going to graze-out.”

The OSU Wheat Improvement Team released Bentley in late summer 2015.

According to this year’s variety performance tests, Oklahoma wheat production for 2016 is estimated to be about 132 million bushels. That is about 34 percent larger than last year’s production and 277 percent greater than 2014.

Though the estimated harvested acres are less than in 2015, the average across the state is projected to be 40 bu/ac – a 54 percent increase compared to last year. Based on these numbers, the 2015-16 wheat crop would be Oklahoma’s largest since 2012.

For more information on small grains production in the Southern Great Plains, visit www.wheat.okstate.edu or contact a county Extension office.

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Leilana McKindra
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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
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