Using molecular markers to improve wheat breeding program
Weed scientists have done screening for Sencor tolerance, but Harrison said it involves a lot of resources to screen many varieties in several environments over several rates of Sencor and is usually only done every few years.
“We have new varieties every year. But with molecular markers, you could tell in a week whether a new variety contains the gene for tolerance to Sencor,” Harrison said.
The LSU AgCenter released two new varieties last year – Terral LA754 and ASG240. Harrison said both varieties appear to be performing well this spring and should be commercially available in limited quantities this fall and in larger amounts next year.
The breeding program has another potential variety, LA3200. Harrison said it has excellent stripe rust resistance, excellent leaf rust resistance, Hessian fly resistance, good yield and good test weight.
“I think it will be a very good variety. But because of seed production issues, we’re going to have to postpone releasing it until the following summer,” he said.
Cold and wet weather this past winter and spring damaged some of the seed increases and prevented others from being planted. Harrison said he lost a lot of breeding material in Winnsboro after a late-season freeze sterilized wheat plants that had started to flower in late March.
The Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board helps fund these research projects.