New OSU-bred wheat varieties yield more, resist disease

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A combine harvests Goetze wheat, a variety developed by OSU that's suited for the Willamette Valley. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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Cultivars also test well with millers and bakers

Oregon wheat growers depend on new cultivars to improve yields and fight crop diseases. So for more than a century, Oregon State University's wheat breeders have been at work. They've developed dozens of varieties adapted to Oregon's diverse growing conditions.

One of OSU's latest releases is Kaseberg, a soft white winter cultivar that thrives in many regional climates. It delivers higher yields than similar, widely planted wheat and is resistant to the yield-reducing stripe rust fungus. The variety was also bred to appeal to the baking industry; its fine flour particles are ideal for cookies and crackers.

In 2013 OSU released Ladd, one of the few cultivars with resistance to soilborne wheat mosaic virus, which farmers struggle to control in irrigated areas in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon's farmers produced $472 million of wheat in 2012.

Sources: OSU wheat breeder Bob Zemetra; USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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