HAYS, KANSAS, US — A new hard red winter wheat that is suited for the drier, western Kansas climate is expected to be introduced later this year.

The new variety does not yet have a name, but it builds off the hard red wheat released just one year earlier, KS Dallas.

“This variety has high yield potential and strong resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus, similar to KS Dallas,” said Guorong Zhang, the wheat scientist that developed it at the Agricultural Research Center in Hays, Kansas, US. “But it also has good resistance to stripe rust, Hessian fly and soilborne mosaic virus, which KS Dallas does not have.”

In trials held from 2017-19, KS Dallas averaged yields of 79.8 bushels per acre, giving Zhang an estimation of the yield potential for his new variety.

Zhang said he plans to apply to the Kansas State University (KSU) plant genetic material release committee for its release this summer and if approved, the variety will be named and foundation seed released this fall.

The wheat improvement program at the research center in Hays has been developing varieties suited to western Kansas since the early 1900s. The center works in cooperation with the wheat improvement program at KSU’s main campus in Manhattan, Kansas, US, which focuses on new varieties for central and eastern Kansas.

Zhang said the Hays program’s goals for hard winter wheat include high yield, good end-use qualities and drought tolerance. Historically, researchers there have focused on varieties that carry resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus, Triticum mosaic virus, barley yellow dwarf virus, stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust and Hessian fly.

Recently, however, Zhang said the program is shifting more efforts to improve its hard red varieties, which are in higher demand among farmers.