Catching Up with CALS —Feb. 26, 2020
Dean's Message — Winner Wheat
The Idaho Wheat Commission’s annual research review offers one of many opportunities to consider our progress in supporting one of Idaho’s iconic crops.
Limagrain Cereal Seeds forwarded some welcome news recently. As our main partner in marketing and developing superior wheat varieties to Idaho growers and others, Limagrain notified us it marketed some 1.1 million bushels of our Clearfield wheat varieties.
UI Magic CL+ was by far the most popular, accounting for more than 1 million bushels.
The sales will generate in excess of $1 million in royalties for U of I. Before everyone gets excited about this record setting royalty generation, those funds need to be shared with others involved in the breeding program outside of U of I. Much of what will come to U of I/CALS will be used to foster core research assets focused on supporting more research specific to wheat.
The Idaho Wheat Commission invests substantially in our annual wheat research and extension enterprise as well, funding projects our researchers conduct to address issues and opportunities specific to Idaho growers.
UI Magic provides a great example of how our collaboration works best.
In 2019, UI Magic represented 14 percent of the 2019 winter wheat crop and ranked as the most popular soft white wheat planted in northern Idaho, where two-thirds of the state’s winter wheat is grown.
Overall, UI Magic ranked third among all winter wheat varieties grown across Idaho, totaling 8 percent.
In neighboring Washington, UI Magic ranked first among soft white winter wheats with more than 200,000 acres grown, nearly 16% of the 1.29 million acres planted.
In Oregon, UI Magic accounted for 478,000 acres or two thirds of the soft white wheat planted for harvest last year.
The opportunity to invest the royalties in research and extension to develop new varieties and genomic traits is essential to staying ahead of the game.
The college, university and state direct substantial resources to the overall wheat research effort in CALS. In 2019 alone, we invested $1.4 million to support some 27 staff and faculty researchers who devote at least some of their time to wheat and seven who focus on the crop entirely.
With a projected $516 million in 2019 cash receipts from wheat sales, and a significantly higher economic impact beyond that, wheat clearly is worth the investment.
We are fortunate to have Limagrain’s expertise in marketing and amplifying our efforts, and the Idaho Wheat Commission’s research support.
The commission’s willingness to fund endowed professorships in wheat agronomy and plant breeding, and an endowed chair in commodity risk management, provide critical resources for keeping and attracting top faculty.
We value these relationships because they help us fulfill our mission to serve Idaho and its agricultural industry. Clearly we cherish our very special and unique relationship with the Idaho Wheat Commission.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
720,000 acres of winter wheat planted by Idaho growers for the 2020 crop represented a 10,000-acre or 1% drop from 2019, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. The 2020 total is unchanged from the 2018 crop. Oregon farmers planted 700,000 acres, down 5% from 2019 and 3% from 2018. Washington wheat growers planted an estimated 1.7 million acres, down 3% from 2019 but unchanged from 2018.
Our Stories — PVY Hits Young Potato Plants
Potato virus Y is the most economically important and devastating aphid-transmitted virus, affecting both tuber yield and quality. The virus is also a major cause of seed potato degeneration, which leads to regular flushing out of seed potatoes after limited field production cycles. There is no remedy for this virus and once a plant becomes infected, it stays sick for life.
Current control methods focus on preventing the virus from infecting potato crops and current research focuses on enhancing preventative measures. In order to increase the efficiency of management of potato virus Y, CALS scientists conducted research to determine when potato plants are most susceptible to infection.
In this study, the scientists matched a North American potato cultivar, Yukon Gold, and a North American isolate of potato virus Y. They discovered that potato plants are most susceptible to infection during the first three weeks of the growing season. These infected plants produced fewer tubers of smaller size and experienced a 70 percent yield reduction compared to plants inoculated during weeks five through eight. These plants did not suffer any yield or quality issues.
This research shows that potatoes develop an age-related resistance that prevents infection and suggests that management programs should focus on the early stages of potato development. These scientists are now conducting follow-up research on other potato cultivars and potato virus Y strains and research that will identify ways for potato growers to protect their crops during the most vulnerable period.
"As plant virologists in a land-grant university, we are interested in applied research that directly benefits the potato industry. This research project is in array with our view and mission," said first author Mohamad Chikh-Ali. "The most surprising results was the dramatic increase in potato resistance to virus infection as potato plants aged. We are very interested in this mechanism due to the great potential on the control of plant virus diseases."
The study’s results are reported in "Effects of the age-related resistance to potato virus Y in potato on the systemic spread of the virus, incidence of the potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease, tuber yield and translocation rates into progeny tubers" published in the January issue of Plant Disease.
Faces and Places
CALS professor Ling-Ling Tsao and students Kelsey Cordes-Snyder and Jacalynn Nath recently attended the Council for Exceptional Children’s annual conference in Portland. Tsao presented results from a recent research project on early interventionists’ perspectives on family-centered practices in their current practices. The Council for Exceptional Children is an association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities.
- Feb. 26 — Pollinator Summit film screening at Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main Street, Moscow, 6 p.m.
- Feb. 27 — Pollinator Summit, Latah County Fairgrounds and Event Center, Middle Room, 1021 Harold St., Moscow, 1:30-6 p.m.
- March 5-26 — UI Extension and WSU Extension Banana Belt Backyard Gardening Series, register through UI Extension, Nez Perce County, firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-799-3096, Thursdays in Lewiston, 6-8 p.m.
- March 26 — CALS Awards nominations closes at 5 p.m.
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