Friday, September 25, 2015

Historical Grain Research Plot

I am doing some very exciting winter wheat comparisons on the cucurbit ground.  On the absolute best patch of ground in this strip, I put in the 3 winter varieties from the USDA small grains collection.  Bacska ( developed by the University of Wisconsin from seed collected in Hungary in 1900, released in 1918), Turkey Red (donated in 1991 by the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry ), and Wisconsin Pedigree No. 2 (developed in 1918 at the University of Wisconsin from a selection of Turkey Red)  The USDA will only release 5 gm of seed for testing purposes, which is about 137 wheat seeds.  So I took very good care of them!  They were hand planted and spaced about 1" apart.

There is more information about Bacska and Wisconsin Pedigree No. 2 in the 1919 UW publication Wheat Growing in Wisconsin.  On page 16 the author writes, "Of the winter wheat varieties those of outstanding importance are the Ped. No. 2--Turkey Red and Ped. No. 408 Bacska.  Other varieties have shown very good promise so far as yield is concerned, but these two are not only high yielders but are also the two best wheats from the milling and baking standpoint."

Both of these shots are facing South and a little East.  From East to West, the planting is Turkey Red, Wisconsin Pedigree No. 2, and Bacska.

To protect these small, vulnerable rows, and to do further testing, I surrounded the tiny USDA planting with mulitple, 100' rows of three strains of Turkey Red.  From left to right in the picture, I planted rows of Turkey Red from the Ehmke Seed Company, from Heartland Mill, and from my own 2015 harvest.  The Heartland and Anarchy Acres plantings each comprise exactly three rows drilled in with the Earthway seeder.  The Ehmke has extra rows since it surrounds the USDA planting to the North and South, as well as to the East.

The Ehmke seed is certified from a 2015 crop and was grown out from stock that the Kansas State University research farm has maintained.  K-State has worked with their Turkey and rogued out elements that don't match Turkey.  According to Vernon Shaffer at the University, Turkey is known for being "tall, late, and small heads."  He also emphasized that Turkey is not a precise variety of wheat but more like a class of wheat, and that historically Turkey wheat had a range of variability within it.  Specifically Vernon said that the height of Turkey is supposed to include tall and some shorter stalks, but not as short as modern dwarf wheat.

The Heartland Turkey is milling wheat I purchased last year.  It is 2014 crop.

The Stephens Turkey is from wheat I grew on Spring Street and is 2015 crop.  It was brought to Wisconsin about 3 years ago and my seed was purchased from Lonesome Stone Milling.

5:45 pm on Tuesday, September 29th.  96 hours in the ground--wow!  Hard to capture in a picture, but the early signs are that the Heartland Turkey is coming up the fastest.  The Ehmke is harder to spot, and I can't find any Stephens Turkey up at all.  I wonder if the differences will maintain or fade away.

Here is the view on October 1.  Now you can see the Stephens Turkey (right three rows) coming up.  All the wheat looks healthy.

You have to squint to see the USDA samples.  These were hand planted and may have ended up deeper than the other stuff, which was seeded with an Earthway push seeder.  I actually didn't think it was that deep at all when I was trying to open up a trench with a hoe, but I did tamp it down well by walking on it and that may be the difference.  I don't anticipate any problem with the USDA stuff but I will be relieved when it is all up.  There is no rain in the forecast and we only received about 3/8" since planting.  I may water the USDA samples if it looks real dry out there.

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