Seed World

Kansas Farmers to Enjoy Better Wheat Varieties

Kansas State University wheat breeder Allan Fritz has a lifetime of intuition and experience in developing new wheat varieties. Thanks to research funded by Kansas wheat farmers through the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Wheat Alliance, he has new technological tools to help his team work smarter and faster.
“New technologies in plant breeding have created opportunities for increased efficiency and genetic gain,” writes Fritz in a research proposal to the Kansas Wheat Commission. “Those technologies are now becoming available in wheat and are critical to improving the competitiveness of wheat versus other crops as well as for maintaining strength in the public wheat breeding programs.”
By integrating these advanced technologies – including marker-assisted selection, doubled haploids, high-throughput phenotyping and a genomic selection model – into its existing growth chambers, test plots and nurseries, the Kansas State University wheat breeding program is “speeding up the breeding cycle,” according to Fritz. That saves everyone time and money.
“Wheat has not had these same tools, so this is new territory for us,” Fritz says. “It is a really exciting time, and we can do some really cool things that are highly practical and help us be more efficient.”
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