ISSUE 11    July 13, 2005


Carter is a yellow-seeded flax variety which was developed by the flax breeding program at NDSU and released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in the summer of 2004. Carter was selected from the progeny of a cross between ‘Omega’ and ‘Neche.’ Carter has shown to yield nearly nine percent higher than Omega and has yield typically similar to Neche. Carter has been shown to contain up to 0.5% brown seeds or less.

Carter was named in honor of Dr. Jack Carter, professor emeritus at NDSU, whose ongoing efforts involving flax utilization and production have greatly benefited the North Dakota producer and the flax industry overall.

To help ensure genetic purity, Carter flax will be protected under PVPA Title V and must be sold as a class of certified seed.

Agronomic performance of Carter flax and other flax varieties averaged over several locations.





Plant Height (inches)




Maturity (days to first flower)




Oil content (%)




Location years





Yield comparisons of Flax - 2004.

























*Both yellow seeded flax varities.



Heat injury to seedlings occasionally occurs on hot sunny days, with air temperatures in the range of 85_95 F and soil temperatures of 120 F have been recorded. Heat injury is commonly associated with drought injury, but excessive heat will also injure plants even if moisture is plentiful as is the case in 2005.

When in the blooming stages, heat blasting and or flower abortion is a strong possibility. This can vary from field to field and is very dependent on time of flowering, soil moisture and humidity during the hot periods. Usually in this situation one would see no or limited pod growth and thus no seed set. It will usually be in patches on the main stem and branches as related to time of flowers pollinating and the heat stress. With good soil moisture under canola usually flower abortion will be minimized to some extent.

Both low and high temperatures can adversely affect development prior to and during flowering. Low, but non_freezing, temperatures just prior to flowering slow the rate of plant development. The start of flowering is delayed or, if begun, the rate of flower opening is slowed and the amount of pollen shed is reduced. High temperatures at flowering will hasten the plant's development, reducing the time from flowering to maturity. High temperatures during flowering shorten the time the flower is receptive to pollen, as well as the duration of pollen release and its viability. This can decrease the number of pods which develop and the number of seeds per pod, resulting in lower yields. It appears that Brassica rapa (Polish) is more susceptible to this type of damage than Brassica napus (Argentine). Very hot weather combined with drought may cause bud blasting wherein the flower clusters turn brown and die resulting in serious yield losses.

Once pods are formed, canola is more tolerant than at flowering to high temperatures. Cool night temperatures at this time also help the plant recover from extreme heat or dry weather.

However, during this stage, a combination of heat and extreme drought will severely affect the pod and seed development including formation of seeds, seed size and oil content. The seed oil content is highest when seeds mature under lower temperatures (50 to 70 F). High temperatures during seed maturation result in reduced oil content. High temperatures, drought and long days hasten maturity and in combination, can reduce yield through fewer pods, with fewer lighter seeds per pod.



Pea growers need to carefully monitor the crop as it nears maturity in order to harvest on a timely basis. The warm temperature in recent days will greatly hasten maturity. Harvest timing is especially important if the crop is to be marketed as seed, or to meet contract specifications for human food or specialty feed markets.

Field pea generally reaches physiological maturity in 85 to 105 days depending on the variety. Field pea may be swathed before combining or straight (direct) combined. Peas are normally swathed if a variety with prostrate type of growth is grown, there is uneven crop maturity, or heavy weed pressure is present. When swathing peas, vines and pods should be a yellow to tan color. The crop matures from the bottom pods upward. Yellow-cotyledon peas should have seed that has turned yellow in color.

Swathing will normally result in increased harvest losses. Modifications on the swather makes the procedure easier and reduces harvest loss. Modifications like vine-lifters enable producers to get under the pea vines and lift them over the cutting knife. Many growers use a pickup reel as well. Peas should be swathed in the early morning or late afternoon when the pods are tough to reduce shattering losses. A roller is recommended to push the swathe into the stubble for protection from wind. It is best to swath just before combining.

Field peas should be combined when the seed contains 16 to 20% moisture, to reduce splitting and cracking of the seed coat. At this moisture level, the seeds are firm and longer penetrable with a thumbnail. Also, pea vines must have turned yellow (no green color present) otherwise harvest will be extremely difficult.

Straight combining is possible depending on variety grown and harvest equipment available. Short-vine and semi-leafless pea grain varieties have characteristics that are adaptable to straight harvesting compared to varieties with indeterminate and prostrate-vine growth. For example, semi-leafless peas have a more open canopy, remain erect longer, and dry down more rapidly after a rain or heavy dew compared to conventional vining varieties.

Direct harvesting of prostrate vine pea types can be accomplished using an aggressive pickup attachment on a standard combine. Another option is use of a combine header with a floating cutterbar. Also, attachments such as lifter guards and pickup reels reduce losses and improve harvest efficiency.

Correct combine settings and operation are important to maintain seed quality. Also, adjust combine settings as weather and harvest conditions change.

Duane R. Berglund
NDSU Extension Agronomist



There has been a "bumper crop" of releases of small grains varieties in 2005. As we approach harvest, now is an excellent time to check-out the newest varieties, either at an upcoming field day at one of the Research and Extension Centers or at one of the off-station variety trials conducted throughout the state. The following small grain varieties were released this year from the NDSU Experiment Station:

Glenn - A hard red spring wheat variety with good yield potential and scab resistance superior to that of Alsen.

Stellar-ND - A six row barley variety with good malting characteristics. Stellar-ND has performed well in all regions of the state, has excellent lodging resistance and kernel plumpness.

Rawson - A two-row barley variety with good yield potential and better lodging resistance than Conlon. Rawson produces exceptionally large kernels that may have value in the food and feed industry.

Maida - A yellow-seed oat variety with resistance to a new race of stem rust. Maida can be considered as a replacement for Assiniboia, which lacks this stem rust resistance, as Maida typically produces higher grain protein, test weight and yield relative to Assiniboia.

Alkabo - A durum wheat variety with improved test weight, gluten strength, disease resistance and yield compared to Mountrail.

Divide - A durum wheat variety with improved kernel characteristics, protein content and pasta color compared to Mountrail.

Grenora - A durum wheat variety with excellent yield and end_use qualities. It is shorter and has stronger straw than Mountrail.

In addition to the new releases from the NDSU Experiment Station described briefly above, there are a number of new hard red spring wheat varieties that have been released from private companies and from the University of Minnesota Experiment Station in recent months. They include: Big Red, Banton, Express and Ulen.

When selecting a variety, carefully evaluate the performance of the variety over a wide range of environments. Look for stability of performance rather than high yield at a single location. In addition to yield consider disease resistance and end_use quality as these factors can also impact the profitability of producing a crop.

Joel Ransom
Extension Agronomist
Cereal Crops

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