STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources released two new hard red winter wheat varieties, Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold.
“Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold fit a strong wheat breeding tradition at OSU for excellence that extends straight from the field and into the bakery,” said Brett Carver, lead researcher for the OSU Wheat Improvement Team, an interdisciplinary team of researchers responsible for developing the new varieties. “Commercial entities already have handed down that opinion, so we can move forward knowing the hard red winter wheat class will be well represented by these two varieties.”
Spirit Rider’s parentage includes OK Bullet, which was bred by OSU. While carrying some characteristics of its parent, Spirit Rider offers improved straw strength, standability and yield potential. It also has good disease resistance.
A solid dual-purpose variety, Smith’s Gold features excellent yield potential with strong greenbug and Hessian fly resistance as well as protection against stripe rust earlier in the spring and after flowering in the adult-plant stages. Its parentage includes Gallagher, a popular variety also developed by OSU.
Both varieties exhibit exceptional baking and milling qualities.
Spirit Rider is best suited to north central and northwest portions of Oklahoma, including the Panhandle, while Smith’s Gold will work well anywhere Gallagher thrives.
“Spirit Rider will probably appeal to growers with a desire to push the yield envelope,” Carver said. “Smith’s Gold can achieve the in-field excellence that Gallagher can, but more.”
It is anticipated more than 10,000 bushels of foundation seed for Smith’s Gold and about 5,000 bushels of foundation seed for Spirit Rider will be available to current members of Oklahoma Genetics, Inc., a farmer nonprofit that distributes pedigreed seed to producers in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
The names of the new varieties link them with their parents.
Numerous experimental wheat lines have been developed with OK Bullet as a parent, Carver said, but Spirit Rider captures the beneficial characteristics for which OK Bullet was known, but with higher yield potential.
Meanwhile, the name Gallagher resonates throughout OSU’s athletics facilities, the campus and now the state’s wheat fields, as it is currently the most popular wheat variety planted in Oklahoma.
“The name Smith’s Gold was chosen to remind wheat producers this new variety carries forward the strong tradition of Gallagher, just as our current wrestling program has carried forward the strong tradition established by Coach Edward C. Gallagher,” Carver said.
Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold are the first varieties OSU has released since Stardust, a hard white wheat variety, in 2016, and Bentley, a hard red winter wheat variety, in 2015.
Wheat is Oklahoma’s largest cash crop, with more than 5 million acres of winter wheat sown annually. Additionally, depending on market conditions, 30 percent to 50 percent of the state’s wheat acres will be grazed by stocker cattle over the winter months.
Currently, varieties bred by OSU account for about 50 percent of the wheat acres planted in the state.
DASNR is comprised of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
For more information about Spirit Rider, Smith’s Gold and other wheat varieties developed by OSU, visit wheat.okstate.edu or contact Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stocks or OGI.