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Limagrain looks ahead on PNW wheat varieties

Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Limagrain Cereal Seeds wants to develop relationships with more university partners, chief operating officer Frank Curtis says.

SPOKANE — Limagrain Cereal Seeds hopes to work with more public sector partners in the Pacific Northwest.

The company’s wheat breeders held a media briefing during the first full day of the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention in Spokane. They addressed new varieties being raised for the Pacific Northwest, including soft white wheat Artdeco, hard red wheats LCS Azimut and LCS Colonia, hard red spring wheat Buck Pronto and soft white spring wheat UI Stone.

Vice president of research Jim Peterson said the company’s quality has come a long way in 3 1/2 years.

“Some of these are not going to be leading varieties, some are going to be niche varieties,” he said. “Azimut is not going to take over the whole hard red base of the Pacific Northwest, it is going to be blended in with other varieties being grown. The impact on quality, I think, is going to be low.”

Peterson said the growth in wheat breeding means that varieties will have a shorter “shelf life” compared to previous years where varieties may last for decades. Farmers who rely on older varieties are losing money compared to the technology available now, he said.

The company emphasized its partnership with the University of Idaho. Limagrain is marketing the university’s variety UI Stone, due out to farmers for the spring of 2014, The company is providing the university access to the company’s variety management and marketing promotional skills and technical information and distributor network, said chief operating officer Frank Curtis.

The Limagrain representatives expect UI Stone to be a cornerstone of wheat production in the region, but particularly excelling on Idaho’s Snake River plain.

“We want to work with other organizations, especially the public sector,” Curtis said. “Not to take them out or to compete with them, but to put strength back into those organizations. They’re doing work on areas that are not immediately close to the market that commercial properties probably wouldn’t focus on.”


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