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Event showcases new wheat, barley varieties

Sean Ellis

Capital Press

Growers and seed dealers whill have an opporunity June 20 to view dozens of new wheat and barley varieties being screened for release by Oregon State University and University of Idaho researchers.

PARMA, Idaho — Wheat and barley farmers and seed dealers in Eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho will have a chance to view the next generation of wheat and barley lines June 20.

A joint Oregon State University and University of Idaho cooperative cereals day will showcase variety trials of dozens of wheat and barley lines being screened for release.

The variety nursery at UI’s Parma Research and Extension Center includes varieties from both public and private programs.

“There are a lot of entries in various stages of release,” said event organizer Bill Buhrig, an OSU cropping systems extension agent in Malheur County.

Some of the varieties have already been named and now OSU and UI researchers are looking for site-specific data to find out how well they grow in the Treasure Valley area.

OSU wheat breeder and geneticist Bob Zemetra said it’s important for researchers to determine how well new varieties perform in this region.

“We want the best varieties for the environment in the Treasure Valley,” he said. “It’s just as appropriate for us to tell farmers what not to grow as it for us to tell them what to grow.”

The Parma station is located only a handful of miles from Oregon.

“What’s grown at Parma has as much relevance on the Oregon side as it does on the Idaho side,” Zemetra said.

Several UI and OSU breeders and geneticists will be on hand to explain the new varieties and answer questions.

“It’s a good chance for growers and seed dealers to see what’s being worked on and talk with breeders in the field,” Buhrig said.

Buhrig said OSU and UI researchers are looking for new varieties with a wide variety of positive characteristics, including increased yields, better protein levels and stripe rust resistance.

The cooperative cereals day was discontinued after the retirement of UI plant researcher Brad Brown two years ago. Buhrig, who worked as a scientific aide at the Parma station until going to work for OSU last fall, brought it back.

The event begins at 9 a.m. For more information, call (541) 881-1417.



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