Sunday, July 3, 2016

Turkey Red Testing

I began harvesting wheat in my test plot on July 2.  There are 6 separate winter wheats on this plot that I am comparing.

The "large" plantings, consisting of three or more full rows, are the three major strains of Turkey Red that I am aware of that are currently being grown and sold as Turkey Red.  I am seeing divergence in the appearance of the wheat at this stage, which is already quite interesting.  Here is what I have noticed so far.

  1. Ehmke Turkey (aka Kansas State, K-State).  This wheat has thicker stalks and is the tallest.
  2. Heartland Turkey--from Heartland Mill, a major modern supplier of Turkey Red flour.  This wheat is shorter and the stalks are not quite as thick.  It is also yielding the least, although this seed is 4 years old.
  3. Stephens Turkey, from the Stephens farm in Kansas.  This seed stock is unfortunately contaminated with rye, which I believe came from a farm in SW Wisconsin or handling at the mill in SW Wisconsin.  This wheat has the greatest variability but it is also producing better than the Heartland.  It is also standing the best, although all three are lodged significantly.

From right to left, 3 rows of "Stephens" Turkey, 3 rows of "Heartland" Turkey, and the remainder is certified Turkey Red from the Ehmke Seed Company.

Here is the biggest surprise so far.  Here are two samples of wheat from the USDA small grains collection.  They are Turkey Red, and Wisconsin No. 2.  Wisconsin No 2 is a selection of Turkey made at the University of Wisconsin in the 'teens.  Both have significant red coloring in the upper stem.  I do not see this red color in any of the modern turkeys.  I will have to do some research to find out why these old Turkey samples have the red coloring.

Here is the sample of Bacska, aka Wisconsin Pedigree No. 408.  I am really excited to grow this out and see what kind of bread it will make.  I may even splurge and taste some of the kernels once it has finished drying down.

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