Idaho has diverse agricultural environments where five classes of wheat are grown. Wheat supports the Idaho industry which generates approximately $350 M per year on 1.2 M acres, with over 60% of wheat being grown in southern Idaho. Most of the wheat harvested from this region is for the export market. End-use quality is very important for new cultivars to be released. Over 60% of the wheat in this region is grown under irrigation. Stripe rust has been the destructive disease for wheat grown under irrigation. In 2005 and 2011 stripe rust caused significant yield loss for growers and quality reduction for wheat industry. Dwarf bunt and snow mold are endemic diseases under dryland wheat production. Low falling numbers caused by low temperature induced late maturity alpha amylase (LMA) also is a severe production problem. Due to the recent global climate change, increasing corn and notill practices, fusarium head blight (FHB) has become an immerging threatening disease, especially for spring wheat in southern Idaho.
Our objectives are to develop an accelerated and internationally recognized wheat breeding and genetics program with emphasis on the development of spring and winter wheat cultivars with high agronomic adaptability to irrigated agriculture in the state of Idaho, with biotic and abiotic resistances, and with desirable end-use quality to meet the needs of the foreign and domestic wheat industry. The research program will focus on applied genetics and genomics that can accelerate variety release under national and international collaborations. The specific objectives are: 1) To develop desired wheat varieties and germplasm using an integrated breeding system combining traditional and mutant breeding methods with doubled haploid production and molecular marker-assisted selection; 2) To identify QTL/markers associated with grain yield, desirable end-use quality, resistance to stripe rust, dwarf bunt, snow mold, fusarium head blight, and late maturity alpha amylase; 3) To identify QTL/markers associated with improved water and nitrogen use efficiency in both wheat and barley materials from National Small Grain Collection; 4) To teach and provide training and supervision for graduate and under graduate students.
For more information contact Dr. Jianli Chen.