Kansas Wheat Day will be held on May 30, at the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays.
Farmers are invited to learn about upcoming research and view wheat plots during the event.
Following opening remarks by WKARC Department Head Bob Gillen, Dr. Jesse Poland, from K-State’s Plant Pathology Department will present a demonstration on High Throughput Phenotypes. Poland is an early career scientist focused on wheat genetics with expertise in high-throughput sequence-based genotyping, quantitative genetics and genomic selection. One of the greatest challenges of plant science and crop improvement in the 21st century is predicting how a plant’s appearance (phenotype) is dictated by its genetic make-up (genotype). More information about the project is available at http://www.wheatgenetics.org/downloads/Projects/HTP_ProjectNarrative_20130219.pdf.
Dr. Allan Fritz, KSU wheat breeder in Manhattan, will lead a durum wheat plot tour. Fritz is an experienced wheat breeder with extensive knowledge of wheat germplasm and field evaluation.
Kansas is known for hard red winter and hard white winter wheat, and the breeding program is focused on those predominant classes of wheat, but there is a small breeding effort in Manhattan focused on “the other white wheat” -- winter durum. Durum is a white wheat used for pasta. Durum wheat is actually a different species than winter wheat or spring wheat. Durum is a tetraploid wheat, having 28 chromosomes, unlike hard red winter and hard red spring wheats, which are hexaploid and have 42 chromosomes each. Durum wheat generally has fewer tillers than hard red winter, but larger heads and larger seeds.
Prices for durum wheat are typically higher than for hard red winter wheat -- usually about $1 per bushel higher, although this fluctuates. Yields of the winter durum lines being tested have been lower than hard red winter varieties, however. Breeders will have to get yield levels up before any commercial varieties are released.
Dr. J.P. Michaud, Entomologist at K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays, will provide a Wheat Stem Sawfly update. His background is in insect ecology, insect behavior, and biological control, particularly of aphids. Presently, Kansas is on the southeastern boundary of the region experiencing wheat stem sawfly problems in winter wheat. Shriveled and misshapen kernels may indicate infestation. Various cultural tactics are essential components of an effective wheat stem sawfly management strategy. Increasing wheat stem sawfly problems have been attributed to adoption of no-till practices that favor overwintering survival of immature stages. More information about wheat stem sawfly is available at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF3089.pdf.
During lunch, which is sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission, ADM’s Dave Green will present “White Wheat -- Past, Present, Future.” In 2013, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced a $325,000 investment in the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation, which is being used to strengthen the hard white wheat variety development in the Kansas State University wheat breeding program at Hays. The investment allows wheat breeder Guorong Zhang and his colleagues to use molecular marker and doubled haploid technologies to develop new white wheat varieties suited for the baking industry, plus offer farmers improved yield and agronomic traits. White wheat is well-suited for bread, tortillas, noodles and many other baking applications.
After lunch, Dr. Gary Pierzynski, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of K-State Research and Extension, will recognize Dr. Jim Shroyer. For more than 30 years, the face of wheat in Kansas has been Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist. He has informed and entertained his “family” of producers in the state at wheat tours, field days, and meetings since he started at K-State in 1980. Shroyer will retire on July 3, 2014. To Shroyer, being the extension wheat specialist in Kansas has been more than just a job. It has been a professional and personal relationship with thousands of producers and co-workers in the agricultural industry and the university.
“Being out in wheat fields with farmers -- that’s just heaven. It is always hard for me to believe they actually pay me for the pleasure of this work,” Shroyer said. “My absolute favorite thing is doing the wheat tours. That’s when I get to see the wheat as it’s approaching the finish line and discuss the growing season with farmers. I learn more from talking with farmers at the wheat tours than they learn from me.”
After the recognition, Shroyer, along with Dr. Guorong Zhang and other wheat breeders will lead a wheat variety tour. Participants will have the opportunity to view current and upcoming lines in the plots.
Finally, Dr. Erick De Wolf, from K-State’s Department of Plant Pathology, will present a demonstration on Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus. Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) and Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV), are two of the major viruses in the Great Plains of the United States. Cultural practices and mite vector control are the primary methods of disease management; however, they are not fully effective. Resistant varieties are also deployed, although some of the lines present temperature sensitive resistance or negative agronomic properties are linked to resistance. Alternative approaches to viral resistance are needed.
Registration for the May 30 Kansas Wheat Day begins at 10 a.m. There is no cost to attend. Lunch will be provided, and the program will wrap up by 3 p.m. For more information, visit http://kswheat.com.