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OSU releases new, dual-purpose winter wheat variety

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Oklahoma State University (OSU) recently announced the creation of a new variety of hard red winter wheat – OK18510, also known as High Cotton – which will be released to the commercial market this fall. 

According to OSU Plant and Soil Sciences Professor Dr. Brett Carver, this new, dual-purpose variety will provide growers with multiple benefits including high yields and disease resistance. 

High Cotton creation

In an episode of SUNUP TV, dated March 9, Carver explains High Cotton first came into existence in 2010 in an OSU greenhouse in Stillwater, Okla.

It was created by breeding an OSU wheat variety, Ruby Lee, with a CIMMYT experimental line developed in Turkey as part of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s breeding program – the largest wheat breeding program in the world. 

This hybrid was then crossed with an OSU experimental line, bred from a collection of Pioneer hard red winter wheat. 

In an OSU Extension article, also dated March 9, Carver notes the new variety was given the name “High Cotton” because OSU researchers wanted to draw attention to its elite performance through a name that would be easy to remember.

“I wanted to suggest the adoption of this variety would put producers in a position to enjoy a bountiful harvest,” he shares.  

High yield potential

According to OSU, one of the most notable attributes of High Cotton is an increased yield potential, which will offset potential declines in planted wheat acreage in the future and help maintain the nation’s current food supply.

“I have been watching this variety since 2018. It really caught my eye during the first year we had it in yield trials, and it has caught my eye ever since because it has continued to rank either first or second in OSU breeding trials for the past five consecutive years,” says Carver. 

According to OSU Extension, High Cotton performed 17 percent above average in OSU statewide yield trials, exceeding Showdown, Smith’s Gold, Bentley and Gallagher wheat varieties by five to 13 bushels per acre. 

“It’s really pushing the envelope for yield in and outside of our breeding program,” Carver shares. 

“We have tested it in the Southern Regional Performance Nursery, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service nursery full of great varieties from other great institutions, and it finished in a tie for first place in 2021,” he continues. “This is impressive because 2021 was a really tough year with a lot of disease and a devastating freeze.”

Other benefits

“We want high yield potential, of course, but we also want to protect the yield, which is what High Cotton will provide,” Carver says, noting the new variety boasts several other benefits for the grower, in addition to higher yields.

One of these other benefits is resistance to disease.

“High Cotton comes with a pretty good genetic insurance policy including leaf rust resistance, stripe rust resistance and resistance to many other common diseases in this area,” he says. 

“However, High Cotton does not hold a lot of resistance to powdery mildew, so if producers have a lush canopy, I caution them to keep an eye on the mildew,” he adds. “It also has some low pH tolerance, but I wouldn’t push it past a five.” 

Additionally, OSU notes High Cotton’s test weight has an average of 1.2 pounds per bushel above average research trials, and the Wheat Quality Council has deemed it acceptable for milling and baking. 

High Cotton also provides early grazing opportunities while simultaneously sustaining winter dormancy. 

Performance potential

“High Cotton will allow wheat producers to reap the benefits of the most advanced wheat genetics currently on the market,” Carver concludes, further noting he hopes growers will have an interest in adopting High Cotton in their next variety lineup. 

He notes the OSU wheat breeding program intends to have the seed available this fall.

“If we get it harvested as we anticipate, we should have 3,000 to 4,000 bushels of foundation seed available through the Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stocks,” Carver explains. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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