Varietal March Madness

Welcome to Varietal March Madness from the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee! Procuders were surveyed on grain varieties, and based on planting popularity, we "seeded" the bracket into four conferences: Winter Wheat, Spring Wheat, Durum Wheat, and Barley. Survey results were based on statewide popularity to reach a Finest Four, to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Find the First Round below, and check back next week for the Seed Sixteen.


First Round


The Elite Ate Varieties

  • Warhorse— This strong favorite exhibits above average test weights and protein making if suitable for milling and baking. Unleashed in 2013 by the Montana Ag Experimental Station, this hard red winter wheat might be building a dynasty this season!
  • Yellowstone— The crowd favorite in 2016, Yellowstone is high yielding and is a go-to for baking and noodles. Another hard red winter wheat out of the the Montana Ag Experimental Station, this contender made its conference debut in 2005.
  • Vida— Vida enters the championship match this year as a seven-year veteran with many top rankings under its belt. This hard red spring wheat has been especially productive, offering high yields since its rookie season 20 years ago. Another Montana Ag Experimental Station alum, derived from a cross of Scholar and Reeder, Vida is chosen by many as a good option for milling and baking.
  • Reeder— Hailing from North Dakota’s Ag Experiment Station, Reeder is a hard red spring wheat—and a hard-to-beat variety for high yields, since it’s known for its stay-green trait which creates a longer head-filling period.
  • Lavina— More widely known for grazing or hay, this barley is a scrappy contender to watch in this year’s match-ups. Offering good tonnage per acre, Lavina is a hooded barley common in Montana that could crop up in the Finest Four!
  • Metcalfe— A favorite of concessionaires that makes no concessions in quality, Metcalfe is known for its high yields and excellent malting qualities. A consistent variety renowned for its taste and highly sought by brewers, this option is always a crowd favorite.
  • Alzada— Watch this variety in 2018—it could take home the gold. A WestBred, LLC development, Alzada’s a triple threat with high yields, sawfly tolerance and superior straw strength. Known throughout Montana for its protein, high test weight and gluten strength, this variety may be climbing high in the field—and this year’s bracket.
  • Joppa— A durum recognized for very high yields, strong color traits, and excellent gluten strength Joppa could be poised to be the Cinderella story of this tournament. Joppa boasts medium straw strength and it’s a natural for pasta, which means there’s no telling how far it can go.