'Denali' hard red winter wheat was developed by the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and released to seed producers cooperatively by Colorado State University and Kansas State University in August 2011. Denali was released based on its superior grain yield under non-irrigated and irrigated production conditions across the High Plains region, its high test weight, and its resistance to stripe rust. 

Denali is marketed by the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) and the Kansas Wheat Alliance (KWA).

Summary - Key Characteristics

  1. Top dryland and irrigated yields throughout the High Plains region

  2. Taller plant stature, about 2-3 inches taller than Hatcher and Ripper

  3. Excellent test weight, good straw strength, long coleoptile

  4. Resistant to stripe rust and Hessian fly, susceptible to leaf rust

  5. Moderate resistance to stem rust (including Ug-99 races)

  6. Good milling quality, average baking quality

Denali Foundation Seed Production Field at Fort Collins, CO, in 2011.

General Description

Denali is an awned, white-glumed, hard red winter wheat. Denali is medium-tall and medium-late maturing, significantly taller and later heading than Hatcher (Table 1). Coleoptile length is similar to Hatcher, intermediate to Ripper (medium-long) and Bill Brown (short). Straw strength of Denali appears to be better than Hatcher and Snowmass; observations of severe lodging of Denali have only been made under extremely high yielding irrigated conditions (i.e., above 130 bu/acre). No objective data are available for winter hardiness of Denali but field observations and performance under extremely dry soil conditions during recent winters (particularly in 2010-11) in Colorado suggest that it is at least adequate for successful production in the central Great Plains region.

Selection History

Denali was selected from the cross CO980829/TAM 111. CO980829 is an unreleased experimental line from the Colorado State University wheat breeding program (Yuma/Turcikum 57//CO850034/3/4*Yuma/4/NEWS12 pedigree). TAM 111 is a hard red winter wheat cultivar released by Texas A&M University in 2002 (PI 631352).

Denali was developed using a modified bulk breeding procedure. The cross between the parents, designated as cross population X011673, was made in the greenhouse in fall 2001. The F1 was increased in the San Luis Valley at Center with a late-spring hand-transplanted nursery in 2002. The F2 bulk population was grown at Fort Collins in 2003 and the F3 bulk population was grown at Fort Collins in 2004 for head selection. In 2005, CO050303 was selected from the headrow nursery as an F3:4 line (F3-derived F4) and advanced to unreplicated preliminary yield trials in 2006. In 2007, CO050303 was tested in replicated advanced yield trials. Line reselection Denali was made from a headrow reselection nursery in 2007 as an F5:6 line.

Further yield trials involving Denali included an unreplicated observation nursery in 2008, the replicated CSU Elite Trial from 2009-2011, replicated dryland (Uniform Variety Performance Trial, UVPT) and irrigated (irrigated Variety Performance Trial, IVPT) state variety trials in 2010 and 2011, and the region-wide Southern Regional Performance Nursery (SRPN) in 2010 and 2011.

Seed purification of Denali began in the 2009 crop year using visual identification and manual removal of tall and red-chaffed off-types from a bulk seed increase (F5:8) grown under irrigation at Fort Collins. A subsample of grain harvested from the increase in 2009 was used to plant a 0.1 acre Breeder seed increase (F5:9) in 2010. This increase was rogued as in 2009 and was used to plant a 5 acre Foundation seed increase (F5:10) at ARDEC in Fort Collins in 2011.

Yield Performance

Field performance of Denali has been determined from various yield trials in Colorado and other states in the Hard Winter Wheat Region. These are summarized as follows:

Denali has been tested in Colorado and Western Kansas in the CSU Elite Trial since 2009. Data from these trials
are summarized below; entries are ranked by the three-year Colorado dryland average (bold).

Denali has been tested in Colorado dryland variety trials (UVPT) since 2010. Data from these trials
are summarized below; entries are ranked by the two-year average (bold).

Denali has been tested in Colorado irrigated variety trials (IVPT) since 2010. Data from these trials
are summarized below; entries are ranked by the two-year average (bold).

Denali was entered for testing in the 2010 and 2011 Southern Regional Performance Nursery (SRPN; Click here). Based on data from the subset of locations from the High Plains region, Denali was the highest yielding entry in the trial in 2010 with a test weight 1.3 lb/bushel higher than the High Plains average. In 2011, Denali was the 13th highest yielding entry in the trial on a region-wide basis, with test weight 0.6 lb/bushel higher than the trial average.

Disease and Insect Resistance

Disease and insect resistance characteristics of Denali have been determined from cooperative evaluations through the USDA Regional Testing Program and field observations in Colorado and adjacent states. These are summarized as follows:

End-Use Quality Characteristics

Milling and bread baking characteristics of Denali were determined in the CSU Wheat Quality Laboratory from multiple individual location grain samples from the 2007-2010 seasons. Hatcher and Ripper were included as "good" baking quality checks while Above was included as a "poor" baking quality check. Based on these evaluations, Denali can be characterized as having good milling properties and average baking properties.

Denali was evaluated in the 2010 Wheat Quality Council Testing Program, with Hatcher as a check. Industry evaluators rated Denali less favorably than the check cultivar Hatcher, citing weaker dough strength and reduced loaf volume characteristics. 

Development Team

Scott D. Haley, Jerry J. Johnson, Frank B. Peairs, Terry J. Martin, John A. Stromberger, Emily E. Heaton, Scott A. Seifert, Rebecca A. Kottke, Jeff B. Rudolph, Richard Chen, Bradford W. Seabourn, Bob Bowden, Guihua Bai, Yue Jin, Jim Kolmer, and Xianming Chen


S.D. Haley, J.J. Johnson, F. B. Peairs, J.A. Stromberger, E.E. Heaton, S.A. Seifert, R.A. Kottke, J.B. Rudolph: Soil and Crop Sciences Dep., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523

T.J. Martin: Kansas State University, Agricultural Research Center-Hays, Hays, KS 67601-9228

R. Chen and B. W. Seabourn: USDA-ARS-GMPRC-GQSRU, 1515 College Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502-2736

G. Bai and B. Bowden: USDA/ARS/PSERU, Kansas State Univ., 4008 Throckmorton Hall, Manhattan, KS  66506

Y. Jin, J. Kolmer: USDA/ARS/CDL, 1551 Lindig St., Univ. Minnesota, St. Paul, MN  55108

X. Chen, USDA/ARS/WGQPDR, Room 209, Johnson Hall, WSU, Pullman WA 99164-6420

References and Notes

Breeder seed of Denali will be maintained by the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. Denali has been submitted for U.S. Plant Variety Protection under P.L. 91-577 with the certification option.


Denali was developed with financial support from Colorado Agric. Exp. Stn. Projects 795 and 646, the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, and the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation.


Denali field plot at Akron, CO, in 2010.