Researchers develop wheat for ‘wet’ southern climate
The AgCenter wheat breeding team includes plant pathologists Boyd Padgett and Don Groth, entomologist Fangneng Huang, and agronomist Rick Mascagni, who focuses on characteristics such as plant height and test weight. Also on the team are research associates Kelly Arceneaux, Lucas Bissett, Katie McCarthy and Myra Purvis.
The team has had a hard time collecting data because of warm and wet weather conditions that damaged the wheat or complicated its development. Warm temperatures caused the wheat to develop early, and in many areas the crop did not receive the required chilling hours needed to head.
The wheat breeding team is working on a molecular marker project to help map genes that influence heading dates and other traits.
“We try to develop selectable markers that allow us to screen for and identify those lines that have the genes and traits we are looking for in terms of agronomic characteristics and disease resistance.”
Harrison and his team also work with oats. LSU AgCenter’s oat program is one of only a handful in the United States and is well-known around the world.
“We coordinate an international oat program for the exchange of breeding material. As a result we have a very broad genetic base and develop lines that work well in other parts of the world,” Harrison said.
He is releasing three oat varieties this year. One will be released in cooperation with a government institution in Uruguay. Another will be used in California’s dairy industry. And the third will be used in Germany for the fodder industry.
These lines are offshoots of research aimed at producing oats for the southern United States, Harrison said.