Photo by Jess Quick
Aaron Esser, Washington State University agricultural research specialist, notes the quality of new strains of wheat as he leads a growers-commissioners tour of experimental crops on he Horse Heaven.
As of Monday, June 11, 2018
PROSSER Wheat farmers of Horse Heaven may be getting the opportunity to increase their yields with new varieties of wheat.
Washington State University, in association with the Washington Grain Commission, the Oregon Wheat Commission, the Idaho Wheat Commission, and the USDA Western Wheat Quality Lab, have been working to develop wheat varieties that will increase yield and quality in the Horse Heaven Hills.
On Wednesday, June 6, wheat farmers and representatives from the various commissions converged on the Horse Heaven Community Hall to discuss the different aspects of wheat farming and wheat varieties.
Aaron Esser of WSU led the group through the small plots of experimental wheat. With more than a hundred varieties of wheat planted on the hill, the options were plentiful.
The plots were separated by whether they were winter or spring wheats. The group was given a brief explanation of the advantages and characteristics of the individual varieties. Hamilton and Don Walker said that the Clearstone variety is one they find to be of good quality.
Clearstone is a released variety and has been consistent for the past couple of years, according to Hamilton.
Hamilton also indicating that the Sequoia variety is also very promising. It has a tall straw and leaves a good amount of organic matter in the field. Hamilton explains that this is good for trying to build up the soil in the fields so that production can be higher.