OSU-licensed wheat seeds dominate marketPublished: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record
A wheat variety developed at Oklahoma State University continues to dominate the industry, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For the third consecutive year, OSU’s licensed Gallagher variety was the preferred wheat seed planted in Oklahoma farms, the USDA’s statistics service said. That was followed by Doublestop CL-plus, a recent herbicide-tolerant addition to the market, and the Bentley variety, another seed from OSU’s ag sciences division.
Varieties bred by OSU account for about 50 percent of the wheat acres planted in the state. That’s good news for Oklahoma as a whole and the school in particular, because wheat is the state’s biggest crop – worth $470 million in 2016 – and licensing fees from seed propagation go back into research for more profitable, nutritious wheat.
Mark Hodges, executive director of the nonprofit Oklahoma Genetics Inc., oversees the licensing and marketing deals of most wheat grown in the state. He said licensing fees and royalties have been increasing at a rapid pace. Last year, funds going back to OSU totaled more than $735,000. That compares with $100,000 just eight years ago.
Agricultural economist Kim Anderson said that having wheat developed in Oklahoma soil also is bound to produce an advantage for farmers. The wheat will grow well in other states with similar conditions, but it is keyed to this state.
Head OSU researcher Brett Carver said the biggest challenge in identifying steady genetic traits in wheat is that the environment seems like it’s in a higher state of flux than years past.
“The trend seems to be erratic,” he said. “Just last year, for example, we had an unusual late April freeze with excessive snowfall in some places. It seems like those are occurring at odd times of the year, and we have to be able to respond. It’s a tough combination that squeezes out your options.”
OSU Agricultural Sciences last year released two new hard red winter wheat varieties, Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold, which Carver expects will be popular with farmers. Spirit Rider has improved straw strength, ability to stand and yield potential, plus good disease resistance. Smith’s Gold features excellent yield potential with strong greenbug and Hessian fly resistance, as well as protection against stripe rust earlier in the spring. Both varieties exhibit exceptional baking and milling qualities, he said.
More new releases are already in the works, Carver said.