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Hard Red Spring Wheat Breeding

M. Mergoum, NDSU Plant SciencesHard red spring wheat (HRSW) is grown on more than 3 million hectares annually in North Dakota.  The value of yearly production surpasses one billion dollars.  Efficient and stable HRSW production is important to the agricultural economy of the state.  Producers receive a market premium for the HRSW class.  Improved and unique quality characteristics and uniformity of that quality result in increased domestic and export market potential for HRSW.

The development of superior new HRSW cultivars is the key element to sustain future wheat productivity in North Dakota. New improved and adapted HRSW cultivars developed by NDSU are readily accepted by North Dakota wheat growers and the milling and baking industry.  Increased economic return and reduced risk for production are the main reason for adopting newly developed cultivars.

A sustained and simultaneous genetic improvement of agronomic and quality characteristics of HRSW requires a commitment to a long-term breeding project.  Continuity of effort is essential because of the time period (approximately 8-10 years) needed to develop breeding populations, test experimental lines, and increase seed increase of an improved cultivar-release that is targeted to the North Dakota environments.  The combination of environmental factors (production practices, pests, weather, and soil type) peculiar to a HRSW production region, such as North Dakota, requires the organization of a breeding team to effectively and efficiently deal with the ever changing production problems and limitations in the region.  Diverse and useful genetic variation, basic information, and effective breeding strategies and efficient selection technologies are essential for continued HRSW improvement.

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