CSU develops new varieties of wheat

As home to one of the nation’s best-known wheat-breeding programs, Colorado State University has recently developed two new wheat varieties that carry a novel herbicide resistance trait. The varieties, Incline AX and LCS Fusion AX, are resistant to the herbicide Aggressor, which is highly effective for selective control of winter annual grassy weeds in the wheat crop.

“These are the first wheat varieties in the world that are resistant to this herbicide,” said Scott Haley, a professor in CSU’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences who heads the Wheat Breeding program. “Through our collaboration with researchers in CSU’s Weed Science program, we developed a novel herbicide tolerance trait that will provide farmers with more economic and effective control of winter annual grassy weeds, such as cheatgrass, downy brome and feral rye.”

scott haley picture
Professor Scott Haley

Other beneficial traits

In addition to its herbicide resistance, Incline AX has a number of other traits that are beneficial to farmers, including good milling and baking quality and improved straw strength. The herbicide resistance trait in these varieties was developed as farmers expressed a need for a more effective and economic means for control of problematic weeds. Haley notes that as a land-grant institution, part of CSU’s mission is to support the needs of local growers.

“It is important to recognize that this technology was developed in the public sector to serve Colorado producers,” said Haley. “That these varieties were developed with the full support of Colorado’s wheat industry speaks to the impact of the agricultural research and innovation underway in CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.”

Partnership with growers

In an agreement between Colorado State, the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation and the Colorado Seed Growers Association, ownership and marketing rights of these varieties have been transferred to the CWRF, which markets the varieties under the PlainsGold seed brand. The varieties are grown and sold only as a class of certified seed by PlainsGold seed growers licensed by the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation. The foundation will obtain a certificate of plant variety protection for these new varieties under the federal Plant Variety Protection Act. Royalties paid to the foundation by certified seed growers from the sale of these varieties is returned to CSU to support continued research and variety development.

In addition to the herbicide-resistant varieties, CSU also released a hard white wheat variety, Breck, developed through a partnership with Ardent Mills. Breck is not resistant to Aggressor but does have increased grain yield, very high test weight, good stripe-rust resistance, excellent pre-harvest sprouting tolerance and quality properties that favor its use in whole-grain flour applications. Included among these quality traits is reduced polyphenol oxidase activity, which can darken food products made from whole-grain flours.

For more information on CSU’s Wheat Breeding program, visit its website.