Wheat breeder meeting

Wheat breeders and Washington Grain Commissioners meet May 15 in Spokane. They discussed ways to provide breeders with earlier milling and baking quality information for varieties under development.

SPOKANE — Breeders from Syngenta, WestBred Bayer, Limagrain and Washington State University recently met to discuss ways to further assure the high quality of new wheat varieties before they're released.

The breeders met May 15 during a Washington Grain Commission meeting in Spokane.

"It's a rarity when there becomes an opportunity for them to all to come into the room to work for a common solution," said Mike Miller, a commissioner and Ritzville farmer.

The commission wants to develop tests that provide value to the companies and WSU. The changes would build on efforts to assure the baking or milling qualities that overseas buyers require.

"I think we've identified a couple things we can do better as a commission and an industry," Miller said. "We've got a great system, let's just make it better." 

The commission can help provide milling and baking quality data from the Western Wheat Quality Lab to the breeding programs earlier in the process, said Glen Squires, commission CEO.

International customers want high-quality varieties, and the industry wants to show it has done its due diligence to provide the best program for wheat development, Miller said.

"Any time we can provide them sureties that we're doing the best we can ... this is a good way of telling them we're listening to (them). " Miller said. 

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