Collaborative Winter Wheat On-Farm Testing Program in Southeast Colorado

CSU Extension Website


By Wilma Trujillo
Southeast Area Agronomist
Phone: (719) 336-7734

The objective of the Collaborative Winter Wheat On-Farm Testing (COFT) program is to compare performance and adaptability of popular and newly released CSU varieties, and promising commercial varieties under unbiased testing conditions. The COFT is a partnership between wheat producers, CSU Extension, CSU Wheat Breeding Program, Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee and Colorado Wheat Research Foundation. This program is unique among the Land Grant Universities and the only one in the USA to feature a uniform set of varieties tested on all farms in the program.

COFT began in 1995 when 28 eastern Colorado wheat producers agreed to plant the newly released variety ‘Halt’. Since then, a number of newly released wheat varieties, Akron, Yumar, Ankor, Prowers 99, Above, Bond CL, Avalanche, Hatcher, Ripper, Bill Brown and Snowmass, have been tested throughout the state.

The program offers an opportunity to wheat producers to evaluate new varieties in their own fields and demonstrate the adaptability of the varieties to the growing conditions of the different agro-ecosystems throughout Colorado. CSU Extension agents play an important role in the program. They recruit new collaborators, deliver seed, assist with planting, monitor the test plots throughout the growing season, coordinate visits, and communicate with producers and CSU Crop Testing coordinators. During harvest, the extension agents obtain yield, test weight, grain moisture and protein content of each variety in each farm. Occasionally, a sample from each variety at each site is collected and sent to the CSU Wheat Breeding Program laboratory for measurements of the milling and baking qualities.

On-farm trails can be tedious and require a great deal of time and resources, but the information obtained on performance and adaptability of the varieties tested may have an important economic impact in rural Colorado. In a recent survey, wheat producers picked COFT as the most reliable source of information when selecting/adopting new wheat varieties for their next planting season. In 2010, the adoption and planting of improved wheat varieties resulted in 1.21 bu/acre yield advantage over one of the most popular wheat varieties, TAM 107, from the 1990’s and 2000’s. Last year, improved wheat varieties were harvested from 2.35 million acres in Colorado. The yield advantage represented an income increase of $ 15.9 million at an average wheat market value of $ 5.60 per bushel. In addition, wheat producers are receiving premiums averaging $ 0.25 per bushel due to the improved milling and baking quality of Colorado’s wheat varieties. This economic impact is the result of the investment of the Colorado wheat industry working together with CSU Extension. COFT results are powerful tools to help farmer to select high yielding wheat varieties and to drive Colorado’s economies to higher levels.

Colorado State University Extension is working with wheat producers to plant the 2011 -2012 COFT. In Southeast Colorado, we are increasing the number of COFT trials to 10. In addition to Hatcher, Snowmass, Settler CL, 303-2 and TAM 112, the 2011-2012 COFT will include two newly released winter hard red varieties: Brawl CL Plus and Byrd.

Byrd, released by CSU in 2011, is a high yielding, medium maturity variety with good stripe rust resistance, a medium-long coleoptile, and excellent straw strength, test weight, and milling and baking qualities. Brawl CL Plus, also a CSU 2011 release, is a two-gene Clearfield high yielding variety of early maturity and medium-long length coleoptile. It has good stripe rust resistance and excellent straw strength, test weight and milling and baking qualities. The Clearfield two-gene variety allows the use of Beyond herbicide for post-emergence cool season grass control (jointed goat grass). Also, this two-gene Clearfield variety will allow the use of methylated seed oil with Beyond herbicide to enhance control of rye grass.

Wheat Producers interesting in planting a COFT trail should contact your local extension office. More information on Colorado’s wheat varieties can be found at, and


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