Photo courtesy of Kansas Wheat Alliance.
Through several years of testing, Tatanka performed well across Kansas, particularly in dryland fields in western Kansas. The new variety was developed by Hays, Kansas, U.S.-based Kansas State University (KSU) wheat breeder Guorong Zhang.
“Wheat breeding is not for the impatient,” Zhang said. “The new variety took nine years to develop.”
The lineage of Tatanka’s one parent (a hard white breeding line) includes Jagger, a hard red winter wheat which for many years was a favorite of Kansas growers, and Trego, a hard white wheat developed by the KSU wheat breeding program in Hays. Tatanka’s other parent is T151, a hard red winter wheat developed by Trio Research Inc. Through cross-breeding, the goal was to develop a variety that incorporated some of the best traits from each.
“Farmers will like its high yield, good drought tolerance, winter-hardiness and its good resistance to stripe rust and soil-borne mosaic virus,” Zhang said. It has above-average test weight and good milling and baking quality.
This new variety has high yield potential, Zhang said. It could yield 100 bushels per acre or more under the right conditions. The new wheat’s straw is not particularly strong, so too much grain yield could cause some lodging. Therefore, it is not suitable for irrigation production.
The new wheat variety honors another species that at one time thrived on the U.S. High Plains – the name Tatanka comes from the Lakota Indian word for buffalo, also known as American bison.
Two other new hard red winter wheat varieties developed by KSU are Larry and Zenda. The latter is better suited for central and eastern Kansas while the former is broadly adapted for planting across much of the state. Larry is named after a longtime member of the KSU wheat breeding team, Larry Patton, and Zenda is named for a town of that name in Kingman County, Kansas.
In March, 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.