KSU developed wheat named top variety in Kansas

by Holly Demaree
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KSU wheat variety Everest
Everest is a wheat variety that was created by KSU.
Map courtesy of Kansas Wheat Alliance.
 
MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Kansas State University’s (KSU) wheat variety, Everest, was named the most popular variety in Kansas, U.S., by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A total of 9.6% of the state’s 2017 wheat crop was planted with Everest seed.

Allan Fritz, a KSU wheat breeder who developed Everest, said it typically yields well and is more resistant to barley yellow dwarf and Fusarium head scab than some others. It also offers resistance to Hessian fly and leaf rust.

At 9.6% of the wheat seeded in Kansas, the variety has slipped from the 2016 tally of 12.2% and 2015 when 15.8% of the Kansas wheat crop was seeded with Everest. 

Gary Pierzynski, professor and department head of the Department of Agronomy at KSU, said Everest was first released in 2009, and to have so many years of successful use is almost unheard of. Wheat varieties don’t typically last that long because their resistance to disease breaks down and they have to be replaced continually.

“We wouldn’t expect Everest to remain the top variety for an extended period, but we’re confident what we’ve released recently will be tops in a couple years’ time,” Pierzynski said.

Everest was named for the northeast Kansas community in Brown County of the same name. The name was chosen as an indication the variety is well adapted to eastern Kansas and to recognize the John Bunck family for their contributions to the Kansas wheat industry and the KSU wheat breeding program.

KSU released two new varieties in 2016 – Larry and Zenda.

“Larry is broadly adapted with excellent yield potential and good resistance to stripe rust,” Fritz said, although it is susceptible to leaf rust. It is named after a longtime member of the KSU wheat breeding team, Larry Patton.

“Zenda, which is half Everest by pedigree, is intended as an Everest replacement as it has a similar level of resistance to Fusarium head scab with good stripe-rust resistance and moderate resistance to leaf rust,” Fritz said. While it is not as resistant to barley yellow dwarf as Everest, it is comparable to most other varieties for that trait.

More information about the KSU-developed varieties Larry and Zenda is available at the Kansas Wheat Alliance website.

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