Technology advances wheat-breeding process
What we are doing:
The world’s population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by the year 2050. The U.S. Agency for International Development Feed the Future Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics, headquartered at K-State, has the ability to help meet the world’s need for more food by developing improved wheat varieties that can be grown in Kansas and around the world. The lab’s researchers are developing new technologies and improved breeding approaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to speed the wheat innovation rate in Kansas and the United States.
Plant pathologist Jesse Poland uses unmanned aerial vehicles to gather trait information of candidate wheat varieties. The UAVs, or drones, buzz through fields taking pictures of every plant in the field — a 20-minute process compared to many days when done by humans. The technique will help U.S. breeders decrease the amount of time needed to bring higher-yielding and higher-quality wheat varieties to U.S. growers.
“Wheat farmers across the High Plains rely on improved genetics to help address production problems such as combating disease, drought and stresses. We are very fortunate to have high-level scientists and geneticists at K-State using advanced technologies to identify improved varieties and genetics to Kansas wheat growers.”
– Mike McClellan, Palco wheat farmer and Kansas Wheat Commission Board chairman