Clemson plant breeders roll out new oat variety

By Peter Kent

Graham -- a new high-yielding variety of oats named for a long-time plant breeder at Clemson -- has joined the family of products available to South Carolina farmers.  

“Graham has excellent seed yield potential, exceeding the Rodgers variety by 20 bushels per acre at some locations,” said Chris Ray, director of the S.C. Crop Improvement Association, which grows certified seed for sale to the public.  

The new variety grows to medium height, withstands falling over (lodging), matures earlier and produces more seed than comparable varieties. It is named for W. Doyce Graham, a small-grains breeder at Clemson University from 1966 to 2003.  

The seed is produced at Clemson University Experiment Station research centers and made available to producers and seedsmen. From fertilizer to fuel, prices are higher these days. Seed can account for as much as 10 percent of a farmer’s input costs, so seed quality is a major factor in grower success.  

“Our mission is to cooperate with Clemson University, USDA and other agricultural agencies in developing, testing, producing and distributing superior strains and varieties of planting stock,” Ray said.  

“Better seed means quicker emergence, better stand establishment and vigorous growth to suppress weed infestations,” he said. “What’s more, uniform plant development -- flowering and maturity -- makes it easier to time fungicide or insecticide applications. And it means easier harvest and reduced drying costs.”  

Learn more about the S.C. Crop Improvement Association: