2003 Annual Report

Agronomy Section

Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue
Dickinson, ND 58601

Click Here
for Printer Friendly version

Small-Grain Cultivar Selection for Organic Systems

Patrick M. Carr, Glenn B. Martin, and Burt A. Melchior

North Dakota State University
Dickinson Research Extension Center

Research Summary

The criteria used for the development and selection of modern small grain cultivars is based on performance in environments where synthetic fertilizers and biocides are applied to minimize nutrient deficiencies and pests. Cultivar performance in these environments may not be applicable to organic environments where synthetic fertilizers and biocides are not used. Our objective is to identify small grain cultivars from existing germplasm that are adapted to organic environments. Sixteen seed lots representing fourteen spring wheat cultivars, fifteen seed lots representing thirteen oat cultivars, and five seed lots representing five barley cultivars were sown in replicated and randomized, small-plot adaptation trials in a certified organic field approximately 25 mi east of Dickinson near Richardton, North Dakota. Crop development and weed biomass data were collected. An organic seed lot of the hard red spring wheat cultivar Stoa produced equal or greater amounts of grain compared with other spring wheat cultivars (P < 0.05) . 'Glupro' produced grain with the highest protein content while grain with a test weight greater than 60 lb/bu was produced by 'BacUp', 'Gunner', 'Ingot', and 'Parshall'. Leonard and Sesqui were among the highest yielding oat cultivars, while the hull-less cultivar Buff produced grain with the heaviest test weight among oat cultivars. Comparable amounts of grain were produced by the barley cultivars Conlon, Drummond, Lacey, and Robust. The barley cultivar Legacy produced relatively poor yields in 2002.

Introduction

North Dakota leads the nation in organic production of small grains. However, limited efforts by crop scientists have been made at identifying small grain cultivars adapted to organic environments in the state or even the nation. Recently, efforts have been made to identify and develop winter wheat cultivars that are adapted to organic farming environments by conducting adaptation trials in certified organic fields. Our objective is to identify small grain cultivars that are adapted to organic environments in southwestern North Dakota. This effort is part of a larger project with the objective of identifying small grain cultivars that are adapted to organic environments in both North Dakota and Minnesota.

Materials and Methods

A limited comparison of spring wheat cultivars was done in a certified organic field on a commercial farm southeast of Richardton, ND, in 2001. This effort was expanded to include fourteen hard red spring wheat cultivars in 2002. Seed lots produced under conventional and organic management were included for two of the fourteen cultivars, so there were sixteen treatments (14 cultivars + 2 'extra' seedlots) in the spring wheat adaptation study. Thirteen cultivars with seed lots produced under conventional and organic management for two of the cultivars were included in an oat adaptation study in 2002. Five cultivars were compared in a barley adaptation study in the same field that the wheat and oat adaptation studies were located in.

Cultivar and seed lot treatments in each of the three adaptation studies (spring wheat, oat, barley) were arranged in a randomized complete block with cultivar treatments replicated four times. The plots were established using a small-plot planter after the seedbed was prepared by the participating organic farmer using standard practices on his farm.

Wheat and barley were sown at 1.6 million pure live kernels/acre (approximately 41 live kernels/ft2) and oats at 1.4 million pure live kernels/acre (approximately 32 live kernels/ft2) in 6 by 27 ft plots. Data on crop emergence and stand, seedling vigor, grain yield, test weight, kernel weight, and protein concentration were collected from each wheat plot. These same data except for protein concentration also were collected from each barley and oat plot. Crop and weed biomass data were collected from three of the four plots for each cultivar. The data were analyzed statistically so differences in agronomic performance between cultivars could be identified.

Results and Discussion

Wheat

Seed lots of the cultivars Parshall and Waldron produced equal or greater numbers of seedlings compared with other cultivars on both dates when seedlings were counted (Table 1). Conversely, fewest seedlings were produced by the seed lot of Stoa produced under conventional management. There was an average decline in the number of seedlings counted on 7 June compared with 30 May of almost 10% across cultivar treatments. The self-thinning that occurred suggests that a planting rate of 1.6 million PLS/acre may be too heavy for spring wheat at this location.

Seedlings of Parshall, Gunner, and Coteau were among the most vigorous of the cultivars that were included in the study (Table 1). However, only Parshall produced grain yield that was among the largest produced by any cultivar. Grain yield produced in plots established using the organic seed lot of Stoa exceeded yield in plots established with other cultivars except Parshall and Reeder. Conversely, yield in plots established with a seed lot of Glupro was lower than plots established with other cultivars except for BacUp and Red Fife.

Protein content was higher for grain produced by Glupro compared with other cultivars (Table 1). BacUp and Coteau also produced grain with a relatively high percentage of protein.

Gunner, Ingot, and BacUp produced grain with a heavier test weight compared with many cultivars included in the study (Table 1). Conversely, relatively heavy individual kernels were produced by Red Fife, among the lowest yielding cultivars included in the study.

Plants in plots established with seed lots of AC Cadillac, Chris, Glupro, and Red Fife were among the tallest in the study (Table 1). There is a belief among some organic growers that taller crop plants are more competitive with weeds than shorter plants, but this belief is not supported by comparing crop plant stature (Table 1) and weed dry matter (Table 2). For example, grass weeds produced less than 215 lb DM/acre in Walworth plots compared with 429 lb DM/acre in Chris plots, even though crop plants in Chris plots were taller than those in Walworth plots.

Differences in plants grown from the seed lots of Parshall produced under conventional and organic management generally did not exist for any crop or weed trait that was measured (Tables 1 and 2). Conversely, agronomic performance of plants grown from the seed lot of Stoa produced under organic management generally was superior to plants grown from the seed lot produced under conventional management.

Oats

An organic seed lot of the cultivar Hytest produced equal or greater numbers of seedlings compared with other cultivars (Table 3). Hytest seedlings grown from seed lots produced under both conventional and organic management also were more vigorous than seedlings of most other cultivars. However, less grain was produced by Hytest than by the cultivars Leonard, Richard, and Otana. Both the test weight and kernel weight of grain produced by Hytest were among the heaviest of grain produced by any hulled cultivar in the study; grain test weight for Buff was heavier but Buff produces a hull-less kernel or groat. Differences in weed DM production were not detected across oat cultivars in this study (Table 4). Weeds appeared to be less competitive when Triple Crown was grown compared with many other oat cultivars (Table 42), but grain yield was lower for Triple Crown compared with other oat cultivars (Table 3).

More seedlings become established for the cultivar Hytest when a seed lot produced under organic management was planted compared with a seed lot produced under conventional management (Table 3). Plants were taller on 7 June and at physiological maturity in plots where the conventional seed lot was used. No differences in grain yield, test weight, or kernel weight were detected between plots established with the two difference seed lots for Hytest. However, more grain was produced when a seed lot produced under conventional management was used for the cultivar Otana compared with a seed lot produced under organic management. These data demonstrate the impact that seed lot differences can have on agronomic performance of a small grain cultivar.

Barley

The cultivar Conlon produced seedlings in equal or greater numbers that were more vigorous than seedlings produced by other cultivars (Table 5). Height also was greater for Conlon seedlings than for seedlings produced by some of the other barley cultivars. Only the cultivar Legacy produced less grain than Conlon, but grain test weight and kernel weight for Conlon were superior compared with the other cultivars. Weed DM production was similar across the five barley cultivars (data not presented).

Conclusions/Implications of Research

Readers are cautioned to not infer too much from these adaptation studies until additional data are collected. However, some trends have begun to emerge by comparing results of the field studies in 2002 with preliminary efforts in 2001. Grain yield for Stoa and Parshall wheat was equal or superior to yield of other cultivars in both years. However, grain protein content for both cultivars was below the average for the adaptation studies in 2001 and 2002. Conversely, protein content for grain produced by the cultivar Coteau was relatively high in both years. Weed DM production was less than 500 lb/acre in many plots in both 2001 and 2002, suggesting that heavy weed pressure may not occur when small grain adaptation trials are moved onto certified organic fields.

Readers are reminded that the spring wheat and oat adaptation studies that were located near Richardton also were located at one other site in North Dakota, and at two sites in Minnesota. This experiment will be repeated at four locations for two more years. The authors believe that results of these studies can be used to identify commercial small grain varieties that are adapted to organic farms in western Minnesota and across North Dakota.

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Wheat Subcommittee of the North Dakota State Board of Research and Education (SBARE) for funding this research. A special thanks is extended to Duane Boehm for allowing this work to occur on his organic farm in Richardton and for his enthusiasm, interest, and support for this project. Also, Theresa Podoll and Tonya Haigh of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, are thanked for their support of this research.


Table 1. Performance of fourteen different organic wheat cultivars in southwestern North Dakota in 2002.
Plant CountsPlant HeightsTest
Variety
May 30June 7Vigor1May 30June 7PM2KernelsProteinYield Weight
------ plants/acre--------------------inches------------no./lb--%-bu/ac-lbs/bu-
Stoa -O3
1,567,7151,339,9961.83.75.425.418,27815.031.558.4
Parshall-C
1,410,8421,280,2831.93.95.923.817,53715.029.660.8
Reeder
984,756864,3182.34.35.921.918,05314.929.159.1
Parshall-O
1,360,2381,163,8941.54.15.423.817,89414.829.260.8
Gunner
1,316,7181,113,2901.53.95.424.920,32815.128.461.0
Alsen
1,156,809990,8282.33.75.321.917,85415.827.559.5
Walworth
1,119,3621,019,1661.94.15.622.318,87315.527.558.3
Ingot
1,037,3841,053,5772.14.35.724.818,06914.727.361.0
Waldron
1,487,7601,434,1201.94.25.526.918,04114.326.557.5
Coteau
1,294,4531,279,2711.44.05.324.018,71916.025.056.4
AC Cadillac
1,126,447959,4541.94.55.826.117,74515.923.459.3
Stoa-C
666,962647,7323.83.15.325.916,82614.223.454.4
Chris
1,133,5321,057,6252.64.35.527.921,14115.423.157.8
BacUp
1,225,6311,187,1722.54.15.423.218,67216.321.161.0
Red Fife
1,265,1021,165,9182.34.35.330.316,14814.220.256.1
Glupro
1,029,287898,7292.64.05.527.518,15118.918.254.6
Trial Mean
1,198,9371,090,9612.14.05.525.018,27115.425.758.5
C.V. %
13.716.114.25.93.85.14.84.27.91.4
LSD .05
233,232249,6480.40.30.31.81,2580.92.91.2

11 = high vigor; 5 = low vigor.
2PM = physiological maturity.
3O = organic; C = conventional.

 

Table 2. Above-ground wheat and weed biomass in plots of different spring cultivars in 2002.
Biomass
Variety
Crop
Dry
Matter
Broadleaf
Weed
Dry Matter
Grass
Weed
Dry Matter
Crop
Competitiveness1
------------------------ lbs/acre-------------------------% Control-
AC Cadillac
2,5601219751
Alsen
2,2053035035
BacUp
2,2429138644
Chris
2,0046242944
Coteau
2,5586125449
Glupro
2,2652934141
Gunner
2,4943021455
Ingot
2,5193321446
Parshall-O
2,4176829546
Parshall-C
2,7416321935
Red Fife
1,9983235948
Reeder
2,0313330438
Stoa-C
1,1806690118
Stoa-O
2,6244729058
Waldron
2,607928851
Walworth
2,9028921353
Trial Mean
2,3344732844
C.V. %
12.3112.539.825.7
LSD .05
478NS21816

1Visual rating of the ability of crop to compete with weeds compared with a check (no crop) control.

 

Table 3. Performance of thirteen different organic oat cultivars in southwestern North Dakota in 2002.
 Plant Counts Plant Heights   
Variety
May 30June 7 Vigor1May 30PM2KernelsYieldTest Weight
--------plants/acre---------

--------inches-------

-no./lb-

-bu/ac-

--lbs/bu--

AC Assiniboia
1,220,5711,145,6771.63.323.313,37450.728.9
Buff
1,095,0721,050,5412.13.322.518,30434.045.5
Ebeltoft
1,333,9241,315,7061.43.222.214,39049.227.3
HiFi
1,171,9911,122,3991.93.524.815,58944.725.8
Hytest-C3
1,191,2201,126,4471.33.829.213,37948.736.7
Hytest-O
1,438,1681,313,6821.03.826.813,65546.137.3
Leonard
1,395,6611,356,1901.53.425.115,09155.832.6
Morton
1,157,8221,102,1571.63.527.015,22748.231.3
Otana-C
1,244,8611,142,6401.93.127.015,71154.632.5
Otana-O
908,849914,9222.93.127.415,28049.532.7
Richard
939,212914,9222.03.824.915,50054.732.3
Sesqui
1,113,2901,033,3361.93.323.715,88851.834.1
Triple Crown
1,279,2711,212,4741.83.723.120,97328.815.5
Wabasha
1,270,1631,171,9911.83.123.516,56348.735.3
Youngs
1,249,9211,184,1361.83.225.813,25151.329.4
Trail Mean
1,200,6661,140,4811.83.425.115,48747.831.8
CV %
11.712.120.85.54.26.06.74.0
LSD .05
207,346207,9390.50.31.51,3335.01.8

11 = high vigor; 5 = low vigor.
2PM = physiological maturity.
3O = organic; C = conventional.

 

Table 4. Above-ground crop and weed biomass in plots of different oat cultivars in 2002.
July Biomass
Variety (Source)
Crop
Dry Matter
Broadleaf
Weed
Dry Matter
Grass
Weed
Dry Matter
Crop
Competitiveness1
-------------------------lbs/acre-----------------------% Control
AC Assiniboia
2,4336111266
Buff
2,57110422265
Ebeltoft
2,9574815474
HiFi
2,5904914175
Hytest-C
2,7202616158
Hytest-O
2,4463312961
Leonard
3,0663719070
Morton
2,8995026964
Otana-C
2,8122418268
Otana-O
2,7116538365
Richard
2,5694219766
Sesqui
2,8973124560
Triple Crown
2,6193413883
Wabasha
2,7792822764
Youngs
3,0062917571
Trial Mean
2,7384419567
C.V.%
13.183.644.99.0
LSD .05
NSNSNS9

1Visual rating of the ability of crop to compete with weeds compared with a check (no crop) control.

 

Table 5. Performance of five organic barley cultivars in southwestern North Dakota in 2002.
Plant CountsPlant Height
Variety
May 30June 7 Vigor1May 30PM2KernelsYieldTest Weight

------- plants/acre-------

---------inches---------

no./lb-bu/ac----lbs/bu---
Conlon
1,332,9121,185,1481.33.718.811,45047.142.7
Drummond
896,704793,4722.63.319.914,51243.040.2
Lacey
1,196,2811,068,7581.93.718.816,01346.837.3
Legacy
1,024,227916,9462.63.219.414,25938.039.8
Robust
1,137,580991,8402.13.619.915,04645.839.0
Trial Mean
1,117,541991,2332.13.519.314,25644.139.8
C.V. %
16.313.820.86.33.74.89.12.6
LSD .05
280,558210,0450.70.3NS1,0576.21.5

11 = high vigor; 5 = low vigor.
2PM = physiological maturity.

 

[ Back to 2003 Annual Report Index ] [ Back to Agronomy Reports ]

[ DREC Home ] [ Contact DREC ] [ Top of Page ]