Seed World

University of Minnesota Releases ‘MN-Washburn’ Wheat Variety

The University of Minnesota (UMN) has released a new hard red spring wheat variety called “MN-Washburn.” MN-Washburn features excellent straw strength and good overall disease resistance. In particular, it contains the bdv2 gene for resistance to Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) making in an excellent choice in years when BYDV is prevalent. 

“In state trials MN-Washburn stood out due to its consistent yield, superior straw strength and overall disease resistance,” says Jim Anderson, University of Minnesota wheat breeder, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. “While lower in protein than other recent UMN releases, MN-Washburn still provides excellent milling and baking quality.”

The new release is named after the Washburn A flour mill (built in 1874 and then rebuilt in 1880 after a fire). The Washburn A mill was once the largest flour mill in the world and at its peak milled approximately two million lbs. of flour a day. The Washburn A flour mill, along with others in the area, helped earn Minneapolis the nickname, The Mill City. 

MN 10201-4-A, a potential new variety being developed by the University of Minnesota. Photo taken in breeding plots at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, Crookston. University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station research project #13-018, “Wheat Breeding and Genetics.” Principal investigator: James Allan Anderson.

“MN-Washburn is a great all-arounder in addition to being the first hard red spring wheat to contain the bdv2 gene for resistance to BYDV,” says Jochum Wiersma, UMN Associate Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and an Extension Agronomist.

MN-Washburn joins several other recent University of Minnesota spring wheat varieties; Lang-MN (2017), Shelly (2016), Bolles (2015), Linkert (2013), and Rollag (2011). These varieties offer growers a good combination of strong characteristics and perform well across the upper Midwest.

More detailed performance data and comparisons of previously released varieties can be found on the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station website at Prior to being formally named, MN-Washburn was tested as MN10201-4-A.

2019 Field Days and On-Farm Trials

MN-Washburn plantings can be previewed July 17 during Crops and Soils Day at the University’s Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC), Crookston. Plots of MN-Washburn and competing varieties are also at on-farm trials at the following Minnesota sites, with two-hour tours scheduled for the days listed. 

  • LeCenter. June 25, 1:00 pm (GPS 44.457669, -93.676844)
  • Marty/Kimball, June 26, 1:00 pm (GPS 45.390100, -94.309243)
  • Benson, June 26, 5:00 pm (GPS 45.398088, -95.521917)
  • Fergus Falls, July 9, 9:00 am (GPS 46.094802, -96.174936)
  • Oklee, July 10, 9:00 am (GPS 47.776605, -95.858971)
  • Humboldt, July 11, 9:00 am (GPS 48.910487, -97.127943)
  • Strathcona, July 11, 1:00 pm (GPS 48.572373, -96.157484)

University of Minnesota experts will provide information relevant to the current growing season and answer questions. Bring samples from your fields for diagnosis and discussion. 

Seed Availability

MN-Washburn seed will be distributed through Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) members for planting in spring 2020. Visit the MCIA website – – where a list of Certified seed producers will be available in September. Or contact MCIA at 1-800-510-6242.