Wheat growers are intent on pursuing research that can help them remain competitive with the rest of the wheat-producing world, and Anderson said that's the reason the wheat commission recently pledged
"It takes so long from the time there's a discovery made until the grower has it in his hands to utilize, and research is not something that you can stop and start like a truck engine," Anderson said.
"We've had kind of a worldwide shortage in wheat the last two years -- we're consuming more than we're producing -- so we feel we need to keep the research issue going."
Controversial though it is, that likely means genetically modified wheat is something of the future, he said.
"We believe it's coming someday. We believe it's necessary to feed the planet, but it needs to come at a measured pace with consumer acceptance."
For the time being, however, there have been advances in identifying and fast-tracking conventional wheat breeding and that's the main purpose of the new faculty position at UI.
"What the new genetic molecular breeder will do (will be to) shorten the timeline between discovery (of new varieties) and utilization with conventional non-GMO breeding methods," Anderson said.
If even three to five years could be shaved off the time between discovery of a new variety and its on-the-ground production that could save growers a lot of grief.
"It would be important if we had to breed against disease," Anderson said. "We would be way more responsive in getting a resistant variety out."
Anderson said the move from the grain producers association, which is dues-sponsored, to the wheat commission that is funded by a
"I want to ensure that policies and funding are in place for
Hedberg may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org (208) 983-2326.
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