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Small Grains Program, WSU-Mount Vernon

Small Grains Program, WSU-Mount Vernon

Stephen Jones, Steve Lyon, Jonathan Bethony, Wendy Hebb, Kim Binczewski, Brook Brouwer, Colin Curwen-McAdams, Louisa Winkler, Bethany Econopouly, Brigid Meints, Karen Hasenoehrl

The WSU-Mount Vernon Small Grains Program is screening and/or developing new varieties for a number of small grains and pulses using conventional, low input and organic farming methods.  In any given year these might include spring and/or winter varieties and breeding lines of: wheat, barley, oats, triticale, spelt, emmer, einkorn, perennial wheat, heritage wheats, rye, buckwheat, peas and dry beans.  We now use cover crops on all our research ground and are evaluating the efficacy of various cover crop blends.

2013-14 WSU Variety Testing Wheat Nurseries Summary
Mkt class #




Test weight




    average max min average max min average max min
Hard Winter 50 125.7 212.4 28.1 54.7 59.7 43.8 10.9 13.9 9.3
Soft Winter 60 120.2 175.5 51.5 54.9 58.7 48.9 8.6 10.6 7.5
Hard Spring 54 82.2 137.2 29.6 52.2 58.9 39.5 13.5 18.5 12.0
Soft Spring 26 53.0 93.3 21.7 49.6 57.4 41.8 11.9 16.0 9.9

The results of the WSU Variety Testing nurseries, both hard and soft, winter and spring, grown at WSU- Mount Vernon can be found at .

WSU- Mount Vernon winter wheat nursery on Whidbey Island.          Wilbur and Clark Bishop. May 2015.
WSU- Mount Vernon winter wheat nursery on Whidbey Island. Wilbur and Clark Bishop. May 2015.

Grain producers in western Washington should use caution when selecting wheat varieties to grow based on results from other locations, even when produced in areas with similar annual precipitation.  The soils, day length and mild temperatures found in western Washington can profoundly affect the grain yield of some varieties when compared to their performance in eastern Washington.   Please visit our website at: to see the latest results from western Washington production when choosing the variety to produce on your farm.

Ave. of SWW high rainfall and irrigated locations in eastern WA. 60 entries. WSU- Mount Vernon
Variety Rank Yield (bu/ac) Rank Yield
Xerpha 2 121 56 64
Tubbs06 6 114 55 73
Bruehl 8 114 45 109
WSU- Mount Vernon E. WA high rainfall
Rosalyn 1 176 57 101
Bobtail 2 162 14 113
LCS-Biancor 3 161 60 94 

2014 Renan Winter Wheat
2014 Renan Winter Wheat

The size and scope of the applied research conducted by the Small Grains Program at WSU-Mount Vernon continues to increase dramatically. Actual field studies have seen a growth of almost 900 % since the 2009/10 crop year and the data generated is disseminated to the public via our website and popular press.  In addition, efforts are currently underway to streamline and expedite the release of new varieties developed specifically for the maritime climates of Western Washington by establishing a WSU-Western Washington Variety Release Committee.   Several of our wheat and barley breeding lines are in the final stages of field trials and soon should be the initial “test subjects” for the new committee.grain_graf