Switching gears offers Texas AgriLife Research scientists an opportunity to test breeding lines under diverse situations. This spring required a big switch for Wheat breeders at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.
For the past four years, the challenge was drought; this year, with the moisture, it’s been rust.
“We have to test a lot of environments,” said Dr. Jackie Rudd, AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Amarillo. “Before we release a new variety, it has been through at least 50 different environments.
“We learn something new every year. The last four years have been very dry and we gained a lot of information on drought tolerance. This year, however, we’ve been able to gain information on leaf rust, stripe rust and stem rust under the wetter conditions.”
Rudd said the environmental differences from College Station all the way north to Amarillo provide more diversity than throughout the rest of the Great Plains region, “so that’s really why our varieties are so adaptable to different areas.”