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Research Progress Reports

Full Research Progress Reports 2022-2023 (pdf)
Improving Spring and Winter Barley Varieties for Malt, Feed and Food (pdf)
We are developing a molecular marker panel specific to the WSU breeding program targeting genetic loci associated with malt quality traits to expedite early generation selection and advancement of superior genotypes through the breeding cycle.
Weed Management in Wheat (pdf)
One aspect of this work is the evaluation of herbicides, both registered and nonregistered, for crop tolerance and weed control in wheat production systems. These field studies allow us to make better recommendations to growers, and they provide us the opportunity to work with various companies to better refine their labels for the benefit of Washington wheat growers. The Weed Science Program continues to look at the biology and ecology of troublesome weeds including downy brome, Italian ryegrass, Russian-thistle, and mayweed chamomile.
Field Breeding Hard White and Red Winter Wheat (pdf)
Efforts have been initiated and are ongoing to develop hard cultivars with herbicide tolerance, snow mold tolerance, and aluminum tolerance. We have several lines which have been performing well in trials and will continue to evaluate these for release potential.
Use of Biotechnology for Wheat Improvement (pdf)
The traits of focus for marker-assisted selection are foot rot resistance, stripe rust resistance, herbicide tolerance, and end-use quality. Additional traits include aluminum tolerance, SBWMV, dwarfing genes, low PPO, Fusarium head blight, Hessian fly, and nematode resistance. While we have established some breeding lines with these traits, we are working to increase the number of lines carrying these traits, using markers to track their presence.
Field Breeding Soft White Winter Wheat (pdf)
The continued advantage of evaluation of lines in contrasting years allowed us to view material under very different climatic conditions and identify varieties that continue to perform well under this variation. In 2022, two new soft white wheat lines were approved for release. These recent releases all have high grain yield, good disease resistance, and good end-use quality.
Managing Rusts of Wheat and Barley (pdf)
This project results in genetic resources and techniques for further studying the biology and genetics of the pathogens, resistance, and mechanisms of interactions between the rust pathogens and plants.
Club Wheat Breeding (pdf)
We evaluated 1742 IMI-resistant breeding lines in 2022 and selected the 76 best lines for further evaluation at multiple locations. We evaluated resistance to snowmold, stripe rust, eye spot (footrot) and aluminum in dedicated stress trials and evaluated resistance to Cephalosporium stripe and Hessian fly in collaboration with OSU and UI.
Evaluation and Selection for Cold Tolerance in Wheat and Barley (pdf)
Screening for wheat cold tolerance using the artificial freeze test was conducted on 400 winter wheat breeding lines. Preliminary test results indicated that the freeze chambers needed to be calibrated. They were serviced in Oct. 2021 and multiple tests were run to assess the evenness of the freeze test results. We plan to assess genetic populations and barley in 2023.
Breeder Quality Trials (pdf)
Quality data generated from this trial in 2021 has been analyzed using the standard t-Score and the results (and interpretation) returned to the breeder. Data generated from this trial in 2022 is being analyzed and will be returned to the breeder.
Quality of Varieties & Pre-Release Lines: Genotype & Environment ‘G&E’ Study (pdf)
The quality t-Scores for each soft white winter, club, soft white spring and club, hard red winter, hard red spring, and hard white winter and spring varieties are summarized using ‘Grain’, ‘Milling’, ‘End-Product’, and ‘Overall’ Scores. Using these results and analyses, the "Preferred WHEAT VARIETIES for Washington based on end-use quality” is developed each year.
Supplemental support for assessing the quality of Washington Wheat Breeding Samples (pdf)
From early October through mid-January, spring wheat samples are given priority over winter wheat samples to complete as many analyses as possible before spring wheat planting decisions are made. This prevents the spring wheat program from having inferior quality lines. As many analyses as possible of WSU winter wheat breeding lines is completed before June 1. Milling and baking evaluations of the 2021 Crop were completed and 2022 Crop testing is underway.
Extension Education for Wheat and Barley Growers (pdf)
New resources were added to the Wheat and Small Grains website in 2022, including results from the 2022 cereal variety testing program, wheat variety field day videos, the 2021 WSU Weed Control Report, a new Weed ID quiz, 25 new episodes of the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast, and 26 new Timely Topics. The 2022 WSU Wheat Academy was held for the first time since 2019.
Evaluation of Barley Varieties (pdf)
The VTP planted 12 spring barley variety trials in 2022, and also began conducting winter barley variety trials in fall 2022 at all eight of our high rainfall winter wheat variety trial sites. These currently consist of six entries and are expected to expand as more cold tolerant breeding lines move through the breeding pipeline.
Evaluation of Wheat Varieties (pdf)
Rapidly generating and publishing data at harvest time continues to be a major priority. Ratings were added for Hessian fly resistance in winter wheat varieties, and ratings for lodging potential, emergence and aluminum tolerance are expected to be added in 2023.
Fusarium Crown Rot on Wheat: Prebreeding and Development of Tools for Genetic Disease Management (pdf)
The 2021 and 2022 spring and winter wheat, 2022 spring barley and 2021 Western regional nurseries were evaluated for Fusarium resistance using our improved greenhouse screening system.
Improving Spring Wheat Varieties for the Pacific Northwest (pdf)
The consistency, broad adaptation, disease and pest resistances, sound grain traits, most desirable end-use quality, good falling numbers, and overall performance of our widely available soft white spring wheat varieties reflects the outputs of comprehensive wheat breeding and genetics research efforts.
End-Use Quality Assessment of Washington State University Wheat Breeding Lines (pdf)
To maintain current markets and penetrate new markets, PNW wheat must possess quality characteristics that make it superior for use in both domestic and overseas markets. Washington wheat growers, as well as grain buyers and exporters, benefit from the availability of wheat varieties that require less inputs and possess superior, consistent end-use quality.
Evaluation of WSU wheat breeding lines for management of Hessian fly and development of DNA markers for resistance breeding (pdf)
Advanced breeding lines, new sources of resistance genes, and two unknown resistance sources, along with winter wheat varieties were screened for Hessian fly resistance. New DNA markers that allow diagnostic tracking of the previously unknown spring wheat resistance source were validated and fully implemented in 2021 and markers for “Louise” resistance source in 2022.
Greenhouse and laboratory efforts for spring wheat variety development (pdf)
In addition to routine early-generation grain quality selection, we apply DNA marker technology to elite breeding materials, and conduct research projects and germplasm development of direct relevance to our breeding efforts. This project also supports our two-gene breeding efforts, Fusarium head blight resistance gene introgression, Hessian fly resistance gene introgression, and expanded irrigated hard red spring wheat breeding efforts.
A Genetic Arsenal for Drought Tolerance, Getting to the Root of the Problem (pdf)
We have been working to understand how lignin content and deposition in winter wheat roots contributes to stress tolerance. We have identified root-specific CAD and COMT genes and are working to understand how they are regulated in response to stress.
Intelligent Prediction and Association Tool to Facilitate Wheat Breeding (pdf)
The GAPIT software package was updated for new functions for both GWAS (Genome Wide Association Study) and GS (Genomic Selection). ROOSTER is a software for image labeling and integrating artificial intelligence to detect stripe rust for early fungicide applications. The two manuscripts on the methodology and software implementation are under peer review.

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