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Durum Breeding Project Objectives

Durum KernelsThe primary goal of the breeding program is to develop improved durum wheat cultivars for characteristics such as grain yield, maturity, disease resistance, and quality. A successful breeding program should have clearly defined objectives that are realistic and based on the industry demand for the crop. The objectives of the Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics Project at North Dakota State University are:

  1. To develop improved durum wheat cultivars that maximize the economic return to the producer and provide excellent durum quality for the domestic pasta industry and the international export market, and
  2. To conduct basic genetic studies of important traits in durum wheat to facilitate cultivar development.

The industry demands are based on the needs of the producer, miller, processor, consumer, and exporter. The demands of the industry are listed in the table below. Based on these industry demands the objectives of the breeding program can be more specific and can be divided into breeding for agronomic, disease resistance, and end-use quality traits.

Durum Wheat Industry Demands

Industry Traits
Producer High grain yield
Medium plant height and maturity
Disease resistance
High grade

Miller Large kernel size and uniformity
High semolina yield
Good semolina color
Low semolina specks

Processor Strong gluten
High protein concentration
Good spaghetti color

Consumer Good spaghetti color
Spaghetti firmness
Low cooking loss

Exporter High test weight
High protein concentration
Strong gluten
Good spaghetti color
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