Catching Up with CALS — July 10, 2019
Dean's Message — Wheat Collaboration
The Idaho Wheat Commission is celebrating its 60th year.
The wheat commission and others representing important crops have implemented one of the best ideas in American agriculture — one that is in the tradition of the land grant university system and one that speaks to a real partnership between agriculture and the university. Growers tax themselves to support research and marketing efforts on their own behalf.
The Idaho Wheat Commission and CALS enjoy a particularly productive partnership. Throughout the commission’s six decades, grower assessments have funded research on issues critical to the industry.
One of the wheat commission’s most far-reaching and influential efforts launched in 2012. When Limagrain Cereal Seeds began exploring collaborations with universities, the wheat commission encouraged CALS to become a partner with Limagrain Cereal Seeds.
Limagrain licensed several U of I wheat varieties. Last year it wrote a check to U of I for more than $1 million in royalties, and the amount this year has increased. Many of these dollars are returned to CALS where they are used to further support wheat research.
The commission helps U of I and CALS stay current with research advances. It helped support CALS’ hire of Daolin Fu, a wheat molecular geneticist in the Department of Plant Sciences, whose work focuses on understanding the genomics of specific traits to advance breeding programs.
The wheat commission funded two $1 million endowments to support work by wheat breeder Jianli Chen (who holds the D. Blaine Jacobsen Wheat Breeding Professorship) and agronomist Juliet Marshall (who holds the Potlatch Joe Anderson Cereals Agronomic Professorship). Last year in March, the Idaho Wheat Commission took another step toward creatively addressing a major issue facing growers: building the industry’s capability to manage risk.
The commission’s $2 million endowment to fund the Endowed Chair for Risk Management spans two colleges, CALS and the College of Business and Economics. This will allow U of I to attract an established associate or full professor to work with students and stakeholders in the area of agricultural risk management education and research.
Those are the headlines — the real story of the Idaho Wheat Commission’s efforts to invest in teaching, research and extension is written mostly in smaller type. In this, they are a true partner with us and can be held up as a model for other agricultural commodities to follow.
The commission funds graduate students’ research, annual wheat variety trials across the state in addition to weed science, soil science, entomology, agronomy and other projects focused on specific issues. They support research with grants from our faculty that exceed $1 million annually.
Day by day, year by year, decade by decade, Idaho wheat growers have found creative ways to invest in the university and this moves us both forward. We thank the commission for that vision and support and wish it similar success in the decades to come.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
57,339 acres of hops, 4 percent more than in 2018 and a record high, are strung for harvest across Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Idaho’s 8,570 acres strung for harvest ranks second in the region and accounts for 15 percent of the U.S. total. Zeus ranks as the top hop in Idaho with 1,480 acres, followed by Citra, HBC 394 with 1,072 acres. Galena, a hop variety developed at the Parma Research and Extension Center, still has its fans, and enough demand to account for 113 acres, up about 4 percent from 2018. Citra was one of the biggest gainer with a jump of 217 acres. Strong demand for Mosaic, HBC 369, pushed acreage up 297 acres to total 803 acres, a nearly 59 percent increase.
Our Stories — Meet New Varsity Idaho Wheats
The 2012 agreement between U.S. subsidiary of global seed sales giant group Limagrain to join forces with U of I CALS received the support of the Idaho Wheat Commission. The goal was to share wheat genetics to offer the state’s wheat growers better, more productive varieties.
Zach Gaines, Limagrain Cereal Seeds national sales and marketing manager, introduced Varsity Idaho Bulldog and Varsity Idaho Frost during a collaborative field day held by CALS, Limagrain and CHS Primeland June 27 near Lewiston.
The public-private deal offered to help Idaho growers by giving them access to Limagrain’s varieties grown in Europe, improve marketing of U of I-developed varieties and share wheat genetics developed by the company and the university.
The new Varsity Idaho line represents varieties developed jointly, checking another box on the long-range plan.
Kurt Schroeder, CALS regional agronomist, included the new varieties in his winter wheat field trial that were the focus of the collaborative field day.
Varsity Idaho Bulldog promises better performance on the Palouse, particularly in the Genesee area. Varsity Idaho Frost is good in areas with snow mold and problems caused by cold weather, Schroeder said.
Limagrain marketing efforts helped propel one of U of I’s wheat varieties, UI Magic CL+, into one of the most popular among the region’s wheat growers in recent years. Last year, UI Magic CL+ sales generated more than $1 million in royalties shared by U of I and BASF, which developed the Clearfield technology used in the variety.
Growers attending the field day also heard from a U of I food science alumnus, Sean Finnie, who now works for Bay State Milling, a flour producer based in Quncy, Massachusetts.
The company is seeking growers for its proprietary HealthSense high fiber wheat flour, said Finnie, the company’s senior manager for research and development. The wheat varieties used to produce the flour have higher concentrations of a long-chain starch that resists digestion.
Anheuser-Busch Supports LESA Research
U of I and Montana State University will each receive $50,000 from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation to support barley growers’ sustainability efforts and further on new irrigation technology that saves water.
The gifts will support ongoing research and promotion of Low Elevation Spray Application or LESA pivots in the barley rotation. This technology, which moves sprinkler irrigation closer to the ground, can save growers up to 20 percent on water and energy.
“The Anheuser-Busch Foundation’s support helps us to use Idaho's valuable water wisely and conduct industry-leading research with significant impacts for U.S. agriculture,” said CALS Dean Michael P. Parrella. “We’re grateful for this generous gift and the positive change it will create.”
Idaho and Montana are the top two barley producing states in the U.S., providing a key ingredient needed to brew high quality beer. The Anheuser-Busch Foundation’s gift to these universities will help create long-lasting educational resources and research for barley growers to decrease water usage and implement sustainable practices.
“The Anheuser-Busch Foundation gift will support state-of-the-art research to achieve higher yields and increased water efficiency for barley growers,” said Darrin Boss of Montana State. “As one of the top agricultural research institutions, we are proud to partner with the foundation as it carries on in the tradition of America’s leading brewer on our shared commitment to American farmers.”
“We’re very proud that the Anheuser-Busch Foundation is supporting the research of Gadi Reddy and John Miller at Montana State University and Howard Neibling at the University of Idaho,” said Jess Newman, Anheuser-Busch director of U.S. agronomy. “Supporting the environment and growers’ livelihoods through the adoption of LESA pivots helps strengthen local family farms and the broader agricultural community as a whole.”
“The Anheuser-Busch Foundation is passionate about helping our local communities thrive,” said Bill Bradley, Anheuser-Busch vice president of community affairs. “We’re thankful for the work these two universities are doing to improve the environment and support local growers.”
Faces and Places
UI Extension forester Chris Schnepf will receive the Technology Transfer Award for 2019 from the Society of American Foresters. He will receive the award during the society’s annual convention in Louisville, Kentucky in November. Schnepf is area extension educator for forestry in Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner and Boundary counties.
A group of dairy science-focused faculty and students from the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science representing the U of I at the 2019 American Dairy Science Association conference held June 23-26 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- July 11 — Inland Northwest Artisan Grains Conference Thursday Welcome Dinner tickets at Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman
- July 12-13 — Inland Northwest Artisan Grains Conference in Pullman and Moscow
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