Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Crop Science Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1360-1361


Cougar (Reg. no. CV-900, PI 613098) is a hard red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar developed cooperatively by the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA-ARS and released in 2000. Cougar was selected from the cross NE85707/'Thunderbird' which was made in 1987. The pedigree of NE85707 is ‘Warrior’*5/‘Agent’//‘Kavkaz’/4/NE63218/‘Kenya 58’/3/‘Newthatch’/2* CTMH//‘Ponca’/*2 ‘Cheyenne’. The pedigree of CTMH is Cheyenne-‘Tenmarq’-‘Mediterranean’-‘Hope’, where the order of the crosses is unknown. The pedigree of NE63218 is believed to be CI 12500//‘Red Chief’/Ponca/3/Cheyenne. The pedigree of CI 12500 is ‘Nebraska No. 60’//Mediterranean/Hope. The F1 to F3 generations were advanced using the bulk breeding method. Cougar is an F3-derived line that was selected in the F4 generation. Cougar was released primarily for its very long coleoptile (116 mm, similar to ‘Scout 66’) with exceptional straw strength (superior to ‘2137’ and ‘Wesley’), traits which have value in southern Nebraska.

Cougar is an awned, white-glumed cultivar. Its field appearance is most similar to Thunderbird and ‘Big Dawg’. After heading, the canopy is open and upright. The flag leaf is erect and twisted at the boot stage. The foliage is green with a slight blue cast and a waxy bloom at anthesis. The leaves are glabrous. The spike is tapering in shape, moderately long to long, and middense. The glume is short and wide, and the glume shoulder is square. The beak is moderately short in length with an acuminate tip. The spike is usually erect to inclined at maturity. Kernels are red colored, hard textured, midlong, and elliptical to ovate in shape. The kernel has no collar, a midsize to large brush of medium length, rounded cheeks, midsize germ, and a midwide and shallow crease.

Cougar was tested as NE93496 in Nebraska yield nurseries starting in 1994, in the USDA-ARS Southern Regional Performance Nursery in 1997 and 1998, and in Nebraska cultivar performance trials in 1998 and 1999. In 2 yr of testing in Nebraska cultivar performance trials, it has performed competitively in southeast, southcentral, and southwestern Nebraska, areas where historically Thunderbird also performed well. In this region (17 environments), Cougar had a yield of 4100 kg ha−1, which was lower than Wesley (4700 kg ha−1) and 2137 (4630 kg ha−1) but superior to ‘Pronghorn’ (3820 kg ha−1), the only other modern, long coleoptile wheat in the trial. Cougar was ranked 38 out of 45 lines tested in the Southern Regional Performance Nursery in 1997 (36 environments), and 42 out of 45 lines tested in 1998 (35 environments). The main advantages Cougar has when compared with most other available wheat cultivars, within its area of adaptation, is its long coleoptile, exceptional straw strength, good grain volume weight, and kernel size.