Washington State University has been developing the university’s first two-gene Clearfield wheat variety since 2006 and plans to field test the variety this year. If all goes well, the new variety, winter wheat WA-8143, will be released commercially.

The new variety was developed because of the perceived yield penalty with the one-gene Clearfield system.

“Historically, farmers always thought Clearfield comes at a yield penalty,” Kulvinder Gill, Washington State University Vogel Chair of Wheat Breeding and Genetics, told Capital Press. “The reason was most of the Clearfield lines were single gene and they always have some damage, resulting in some yield loss.”

Using the Clearfield system allows growers to apply Beyond herbicide, which is nearly 99 percent effective against jointed goatgrass and other grasses, said, Dana Herron, Washington Grain Commission member representing Benton, Franklin, Kittitas, Klickitat and Yakima counties, according to Capital Press.

So far, tests have shown little damage when WA-8143 was sprayed with Beyond herbicide and the variety looks promising. Field trials of the new variety began in 2009. Researchers have been slow to release the variety to do thorough testing on it.

“We’ve made some mistakes in the past by releasing varieties too early,” Herron said. “We want to make sure all the data is well documented and it truly is an improvement. The devil is always in the details, we don’t’ want any surprises when it gets out into the field.”

A full release of the variety could come this year if field evaluations are satisfactory.