North Dakota Hard Red Winter Wheat Variety Trial Results for 2023 and Selection Guide

(A1196-23 September 2023)

Annual winter wheat variety selection guide that includes state wide data on winter wheat variety performance in 2023 to help growers make planting decisions for 2024.

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Clair Keene, Assistant Professor, Extension Agronomist
Other Authors

Francois Marais, Andrew Friskop, Zhaohui Liu, and Shaobin Zhong (NDSU Main Station); Leo Bortolon (North Central Research Extension Center, Minot); Glen Martin (Dickinson Research Extension Center); John Rickertsen (Hettinger Research Extension Center); Kristin Simons (Carrington Research Extension Center); Gautam Pradhan (Williston Research Extension Center); Bryan Hanson (Langdon Research Extension Center)

Available in print from the NDSU Distribution Center.

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Publication Sections

During the 2022-23 growing season, 150,000 acres of winter wheat were planted, and 130,000 acres were harvested. Winter wheat yield in North Dakota was estimated at 53 bushels per acre (bu/a) statewide, compared to last year’s yield of 58 bu/a. Higher winter wheat yields ranging from 60-90 bu/a were reported from many areas across the state despite the dry fall of 2022. Deep snow cover that lasted winterlong across most growing regions contributed to spring moisture that benefitted the winter wheat crop and resulted in locally high yields.

Ideal continued to hold on to the top spot in the winter wheat variety survey, reported as occupying 16% of acres planted. The NDSU release ND Noreen increased in acres to occupy the No. 2 spot at 10% of acres. WestBred variety Keldin was third at 8%, and WB Matlock was fourth at 7%. Jerry fell to fifth place at 2% of acres planted. More than half of the acres surveyed did not report which varieties were planted.

Characteristics of hard red winter wheat varieties adapted for production in North Dakota are described in Table 1. Information on the agronomic and quality performance of selected varieties is summarized in subsequent tables. Yields are expressed on a 13.5% moisture basis and protein on a 12% basis, which are the industry standards.

Successful winter wheat production depends on numerous production practices, including selecting the right variety for a particular area. The information included in this publication is meant to help growers choose that variety or group of varieties. Characteristics to consider when selecting a variety are winter hardiness, yield potential in your area, test weight, protein content when grown with proper fertility, straw strength, plant height, reaction to important diseases and maturity.

The recommended seeding dates for winter wheat are Sept. 1-15 north of North Dakota Highway 200 and Sept. 15-30 in southern regions. Planting after the recommended dates reduces winter survival and grain yield. Planting prior to the recommended date may deplete soil moisture reserves unnecessarily. It also increases the risk of wheat streak mosaic virus and may reduce winter survival.

Winter wheat should be seeded at a rate of 1 million to 1.2 million pure live seeds per acre. The higher seeding rates of this recommended range should be used for late seeding or in poor seedbed conditions. Producers should consider only the most winter-hardy varieties available when growing winter wheat in North Dakota. Relative ratings for winter hardiness are found in Table 1.

Phosphorus aids winter survival by stimulating root growth and fall tillering. The secondary root system that develops during tillering is essential for a healthy, deep-rooted plant capable of withstanding stress. If winter wheat is planted on bare soil or following fallow, an application of phosphorus is recommended if soil phosphorus levels are low. While important, the contribution of phosphorus to winter survival is secondary to varietal hardiness.

Data from several years and locations should be used when selecting varieties. The idea that data from a single location nearest your farm will indicate which variety will perform the best for you next year is incorrect. You should select varieties that, on average, perform the best at multiple trial locations near your farm across several years.