Which heirloom wheat variety in Harford County

Asked July 15, 2016, 9:26 AM EDT

I want to grow some winter wheat in Harford County. I am interested in an heirloom variety that will do well without lots of synthetic fertilizer, and can be saved for seed in following years. I would like to know what varieties will grow well in this area, or where I can find this information. If you know where I can obtain the seeds, that would also be very helpful. Thank you very much. Richard Brown rbrown@towson.edu

Harford County Maryland

1 Response

Richard, When you say heirloom variety I assume you are looking for a wheat variety that was successfully grown over 10 years ago or more. You are not going to find any that fit that description as seed producing farmers will grow only the newer varieties that have better yield and a package of genetic traits or improved disease resistance, standability, test weight, etc. that they know will be of interest to seed buying farmers. Once a variety has been grown for about 5-7 years, it tends to decline in yield primarily because the disease pathogens that it was resistant to at one time have changed so that the variety becomes susceptible. Plus, breeders are constantly working to produce varieties that will yield better than those that previously were available. Farmers seek these newer varieties and the demand for the older varieties becomes non-existent.

You can learn about the success of currently grown varieties by visiting the site in the link below that shows the performance of many of the currently grown varieties. These varieties were tested by the University of Maryland. YOu can find the same type of information by visiting Penn State University or Virginia Tech's websites that have similar information. You will be able to save seed for many of the varieties that are listed in this table. You just want to make sure that the variety does not have Plant Variety Protection on it which is like a patent. If you have additional questions you can reach me at my email address: rkratoch@umd.edu

Hope this helps,

Bob Kratochvil - Extension Agronomist - University of Maryland