Kernza’s arrival has been a long time coming. The new grain variety from the Land Institute is derived from an ancient form of intermediate wheatgrass, a perennial that is actually a distant relative of wheat.
During the week of May 6, wheat flag smut was detected in a field demonstration plot in Rooks County in Kansas and confirmed by laboratory tests. This disease hasn’t been detected in Kansas since the 1920’s and 30’s.
With financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Exeter researchers have now started an international initiative to face the challenge to our food security from Septoria tritici blotch. Based on the research activity of several groups in Biosciences, the international journal Fungal Genetics and Biology is dedicating its entire June 2015 issue to STB and Zymoseptoria tritici.
Washington State University researcher Diter von Wettstein is working toward developing gluten-free wheat varieties safe to eat for people who have Celiac disease. His research that was first fully funded in 2008 is reaping success that could have gluten-free wheat being produced in about 10 years. It would be classified as a genetically modified wheat.
Recent abundant rainfall resulted in a flush of new growth in some Kansas wheat fields, sparking development of late-developing tillers. In some areas, the new tillers have created a second canopy of green heads along with the main canopy of ripe heads, according to Kansas State University’s Jim Shroyer.
The biofortification breeding program at CIMMYT uses new wheat varieties from the core-breeding program as background parents that are higher yielding, resistant to rust diseases, heat tolerant, water-use efficient and are 5 to 10 percent higher yielding than the current varieties.
The scientists who recently identified dramatic changes in yellow rust populations affecting wheat in the UK, have just been awarded £1.2 million to develop a new, quicker, cheaper version of their field–based diagnostic tool. This project will improve the UK’s national surveillance program by examining hundreds more yellow rust samples annually.
Montanans who battle wheat stem sawfly now have a new weapon to consider using. Over the next four years and possibly longer, wheat producers will be able to use a granular insecticide against the No. 1 small grain insect pest in Montana. The insecticide, Thimet 20-G, must be incorporated into the soil at least 85 days before harvest.