Public Small Grain varieties, developed and released by University and USDA-ARS research programs, are the result of years of research and testing. Plant breeders work with other specialist, not just to release another variety, but to enhance crop production by developing varieties that fit into an intensely managed crop production scheme. Selected from thousands of experimental lines, only those distinctly superior to existing commercial varieties in one or more characteristics are released. All selections are evaluated on the basis of area of adaptation, yield potential, pest resistance, standability and other agronomic traits important to successful crop production.
Selecting the right Small Grain variety is the most important production decision farmers make each year. With today's agricultural conditions (high costs of production and unusual weather) it is essential that farmers be efficient in order to make a profit. The choice of variety best suited for your particular location and operation can result in a significant yield increase before any other management practices are implemented. Poor choices can mean disaster.
Deciding on the best varieties involves looking at all characteristics contributing to varietal performance. These include yield potential, disease resistance, planting date, maturity, lodging resistance, drought tolerance, resistance/tolerance to nematodes, and other agronomic factors. Rarely is there one variety perfect for all fields. So, it is useful to select more than one variety in order to take advantage of different varietal traits and characteristics. Public varieties offer a wide selection from which to choose a winning combination.
A vital part of successful Small Grain production is using high-quality seed. Seed is one area where you cannot sacrifice quality for a cheaper product. University tests have shown that professionally grown certified seed almost always out-yields farmer saved seed. Public varieties are produced and marketed by local seedsmen. Seed Certification is a program of planned production, records, unbiased inspections, and rigid standards imposed on seed production. The blue Certified tag identifies known varieties from public or private research programs. It's your guarantee of varietal purity which ensures predictable performance. Certified seed meets high standards for germination and freedom from weed seeds and crop mixtures. For more information on seed certification, contact Department of Plant Industry, Clemson University.
Small Grains Breeding at Clemson University
The Small Grains breeding program is led by Christopher L. Ray, Agricultural Experiment Station, Clemson University. The breeding program is a multi-disciplinary, cooperative effort involving several research programs. Breeding nurseries are grown annually at three S.C. locations: Clemson (Piedmont Experiment Station and Calhoun Fields), Florence (Pee Dee REC), and Blackville (Edisto REC). Elite S.C. lines can be evaluated each year in SunGrains Regional Nurseries grown in several Southern states and in official state variety trials. See Clemson's Variety Trial Website for results of SC official variety performance tests.
Funding is provided by the South Carolina Agriculture and Forestry Research System and through royalties from the Sungrains group. Funds provided supply a portion of the operating funds required for the nursery project, supplies, travel, small equipment purchases, and part-time labor. Funding provided by the SunGrains group is vital to the on-going small grain breeding effort and future success of the program.
Development of higher yielding, pest resistant small grain cultivars is essential to improving production efficiency in the southeastern U.S.A. The small grain breeding research program at Clemson University has developed and released one cultivar in the past five years. The following cultivar was developed and released by Clemson University. .
SC961246 is a mid-late maturity oat that matures approximately eight days later than Brooks. This strain is a medium short line (~32 in.). In the South Carolina Oat Official Variety trial, 2001, it averaged three inches shorter than Brooks (35.5 in.). In the 2004 USDA Uniform Winter Oat Nursery the lodging ratings for SC961246 averaged 0.8 compared to 1.9 and 1.8 for Rodgers and Harrison respectively. (lodging scale 0 = good lodging resistance and 9 = poor). Test weight averaged 32.2 compared to 31.9 for Rodgers.