Breeding Improved SRW Wheat Varieties for Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


Our overall research goal is to increase small grains profitability and sustainability by developing and releasing superior SRW wheat varieties for Kentucky growers, screening malting barley cultivars for use in Kentucky and evaluating flavor characteristics of wheat, rye and barley for potential value-added products. In the wheat breeding effort, we focus heavily on disease resistance with primary emphasis on head scab and Septoria leaf blotch. This focus on disease resistance enhances sustainability of production practices by reducing reliance on fungicides. Each season we do our best to identify high yielding, early maturing varieties that have high test weight and stand well. Including these traits helps us meet the goals of sustainability by filling food needs, enhancing environmental sustainability by reducing soil erosion and enhancing economic sustainability by increasing profitability of the 3-crops-in-2-years rotation. Our work with end users: bakers, maltsters and distillers augments our support of the economic sustainability pillar by giving growers value-added opportunities. Plan of Work: Crossing: Vernalization of varieties and breeding lines to use as parents occurs in August; these lines are transplanted to the greenhouse 9 weeks later. We begin crossing in late November with multiple plantings throughout winter and early spring, so that last cross is made in early May. We choose parents on the basis of their field performance, the presence of molecular markers linked to scab resistance genes, and genomic prediction data that indicates high yields and test weights, early maturity, good lodging resistance as well as scab resistance. For value added targets, we include flavor and dough functionality as breeding objectives. Population and Line Development: Our ideal planting window is October 10 – 30, though we usually don’t finish until mid - November. The F1 hybrids from the greenhouse are planted in rows in the field to produce enough F2 seed that we can begin screening for important visual traits. In all generations, we try to select well-filled, disease-free heads in the most vigorous plots and rows. In the F5 generation, we plant seed from individual heads in headrows, and select the best-looking rows with clean leaves and heads. These lines will be the new entries in Preliminary replicated yield trial the following year. Yield Testing: In 2020-21 our yield trial locations stay the same: Lexington, Woodford Co., Princeton, and Schochoh. We will also test 25-30 lines in multi-state cooperative tests – Mason Dixon, 5 state and Uniform Eastern Nursery. These replicated tests let us measure agronomic performance and disease resistance along with milling/baking quality. Purification and Increase: We will send approximately 1000 headrows to Yuma, AZ; each headrow is a selection out of our most elite lines. We plant the 2-3 lb of genetically pure seed produced in Yuma in Lexington in our increase plots next year to produce breeder seed of potential variety releases. Head scab screening: Approximately 4000 rows of varieties, breeding lines, populations and cooperative nurseries are grown under inoculated, irrigated conditions in our scab nursery at Lexington. By irrigating and spreading scabby corn inoculum, disease pressure is increased to epidemic levels. Scab infection severity, Fusarium damaged kernels and DON level are measured in each line; we eliminate susceptible lines from the breeding program. Speed Breeding: We are using LED lights and reduced vernalization time as an alternative to doubled haploids that will still accelerate our generation time: we can go from F1 to F4 - 3 generations in one year - and reduce line development by 4 years. We will purchase more LED lights to install in the greenhouse. Genomic Selection: Genomic predictions are improving in accuracy. This past year we had accuracies of 65% in some crosses. In October we send tissue to NC State; they do the sequencing and send us genomic estimates of ‘Variety Potential’ for the new lines that we haven’t tested in the field. Lines with low variety potential can be eliminated and we save the time and money we would have spent on field testing them. Budget: Personnel $23,000 Materials and Supplies $15,000 Travel $9,000 Equipment Maintenance $6,000 Yuma Increases $8,000 Speed Breeding $2,000 Genomic Selection lab charges $4,000 Total Funds Requested $67,000
Effective start/end date9/1/2012/31/21


  • Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association: $67,000.00


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