Recently, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has shared a lot of information about U.S. wheat breeding programs and the tireless effort to meet the highest standards for our customers’ end-use quality needs and help farm families thrive. So far, we have described the important work of public wheat breeding programs at U.S. land grant universities and the support they get from farmers through state wheat checkoffs. Yet, many for-profit companies are doing excellent wheat variety development work and often collaborate with public breeding programs.
USW does not endorse any public or private seed brands. To present a complete picture of the breeding industry, we invited several commercial seed companies to send us stories for our “Wheat Letter” blog about their efforts to increase wheat yield potential while also improving functional milling and baking quality. This post shares information from two of those companies, AgriPro® and WestBred®. Future posts will cover other commercial breeding programs.
For more than 50 years AgriPro® wheat, backed by Syngenta research and development programs, has been at the forefront of innovation in wheat breeding programs. Breeding practices like genomic selection allow for early characterization for better quality and higher yields. And as AgriPro® prepares to launch hybrid wheat, farmers and end-users alike will benefit from this exciting new technology.
“It is all about sustainability and consistency,” said Jon Rich, seeds development operations head for North America at Syngenta. “We know farmers need high yields and end-users need stable quality year over year. Hybrid wheat will be a significant change for protecting yield and quality. Our goal with hybrid wheat is to provide consistent functional quality across all types of wheat. It also opens the door to a host of future innovations.”
Wheat Breeding Programs Consider End-User Needs
Hybrid wheat continues AgriPro’s longstanding commitment to the wheat industry. Research remains focused on developing varieties that provide farmers with high yield potential and end-users with the functional characteristics needed for milling and baking. With a deep understanding that consumers have a wide variety of needs, AgriPro® continues to lead the way in providing improved protein quality, gluten strength and mixing tolerance.
AgriPro® has the largest portfolio in the industry, with consistent top-performing varieties across regions. To learn more, visit www.agriprowheat.com. The photo at the top of this page courtesy of Syngenta shows a grain head from a new AgriPro® hard red spring wheat variety called AP-Octane.
AgriPro® is a registered trademark of Syngenta.
In their wheat breeding programs, WestBred® researchers use both classic techniques and new technologies to select and breed wheat faster and more efficiently. Three examples of these enhanced technologies include:
Also known as marker-assisted breeding, this is a tool that allows breeders search a sample of a plant’s DNA to look for markers associated with certain characteristics, such as better disease resistance or improved water absorption in milled flour.
The Seed Chipper
Using proprietary Bayer technology, breeders can obtain the DNA samples analyzed in the molecular breeding process. The chipper removes a small chip from each wheat seed for analysis without harming the seed’s ability to grow. Once breeders find the incredibly rare combination of genes they are looking for using molecular markers, they can plant a viable seed for field trials.
The Doubled-Haploid (DH) process accelerates genetic advancements by reducing the number of plant generations it takes to achieve a pure line. Completely homozygous lines help ensure all plants of a given variety are identical, which increases the precision of testing results and improves the quality of our products.
Through advanced breeding technologies and research capabilities, Bayer has built on its success in corn and soybean technologies to give WestBred® wheat access to the tools needed to help enhance productivity and improve yield potential.
Wheat Technology Center
Developing better seed starts with at the Bayer Wheat Technology Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, where breeders collaborate and leverage advanced Bayer technologies to develop new solutions. Rather than having breeders and technologies spread across six locations, Bayer brought together its wheat breeding program at the Wheat Technology Center to improve the quality and speed of Bayer’s innovation in wheat.
WestBred® is a registered trademark of Bayer Group.
Read about other U.S. wheat public breeding programs:
Read about other U.S. wheat commercial breeding programs:
Stories covering additional programs will be published soon.