Montech Seed Group, an organization dedicated to acquiring and distributing top quality seed genetics, will have several different winter wheat and other fall crop varieties available to producers this year. One winter wheat variety worth noting is Jet, a hard red winter wheat from Limagrain Cereal Seeds.
Developed as a variety adapted for the Pacific Northwest, Jet is a relatively newer winter wheat for Montana, having only really been grown in the state within the last three years. Growers that have planted Jet note it is outstanding when it comes to yield. As a versatile line, Jet can be grown in either a dryland or irrigated situation, and the variety has confirmed to yield upwards of an astounding 160 bushels per acre under irrigation.
“In most of Montana’s main winter wheat growing areas, we have had good luck with Jet and it has pretty much been the top yielder, hands down,” said John McDonnell, co-owner of Circle S Seeds in Three Forks, Mont.
McDonnell and his father’s company was part of the original group of seed companies that founded Montech Seed Group back in 2005. How it works typically is a university or a private company that is in the genetics business will approach Montech, or Montech will solicit them, to license a seed variety. Montech will then pay a royalty back to the owner of the genetics, and as the licensee, Montech must maintain stewardship of the seed variety.
Among his various other duties as the co-owner of a robust Montana seed business, McDonnell also acts as Montech’s caretaker for the variety, Jet. This means that Circle S grows and provides Registered Jet seed to the other member companies in Montech.
In addition to being a very high yielding line of wheat, Jet has other favorable traits, McDonnell says. Jet shows relatively good resistance to diseases like stipe rust, it produces average protein levels and the variety is proving to have desirable milling qualities. Further, Jet has excellent straw strength.
“Jet is short, so lodging has not been a problem,” he stated.
Overall, McDonnell points out that Jet is a great winter wheat variety. As an experienced seed dealer, he does note, that Jet was developed as a Pacific Northwest variety, and although it has performed very well across most of Montana, it is not the most winter hardy variety out there.
“I would maybe stay away from planting Jet in the northeast corner of the state because that area historically is tougher for winter kill,” he explained.
McDonnell went on to say, Jet does have a unique trait that growers should be aware of before planting it. The variety is known to produce a relatively rough, irregular shaped grain kernel, and early on, labs that were grading Jet would call it frost-damaged. It resulted in growers who never had experienced frost being docked at the elevator.
“It took a lot of work through Montech Seed Group, grading labs and some other industry seed people, to get them to look at that kernel differently and we’ve gotten past that to where it isn’t as problematic, but it is something to be aware of, especially if the elevator you are delivering to has never handled Jet before,” he explained.
Growers must also keep in mind that Jet is a single-use variety, so new seed must be bought every year.
Circle S Seeds predominately deals seed within a 50-mile radius of their Three Forks facility. Jet has done well in the Gallatin valley, but McDonnell encourages all growers to keep in mind that Montana is a big state with various growing conditions, so not all wheat varieties will perform exactly the same across the board. As a high yielding variety, Jet is definitely one to take a second look at, but it is always good practice to discuss with local seed dealers before planting any variety.
For a complete list of Montech Seed Group members, please visit montechseedgroup.com.