Eric Atkinson and Allan Fritz

(Eric) Do want to inform folks of the latest to come out of your wheat breeding program here at Kansas State University, specific variety now. It will be called KanMark and just to note the origins of the name of this variety if nothing else if you would Allan. (Allan) Kind of the century of wheat improvement at K-State marked by the release of KanRed there is a little bit of discrepancy of when KanRed was actually released, whether it was 1914 or 1917, but roughly a hundred years ago. And it was developed by a gentleman named Mark Carleton. He was a plant explorer. He has brought in things like Carkuff and some wheats like that that were kind of the foundation for hard winter wheat improvement in the plains. He also introduced the Durum wheats that are the foundation for the Durum wheat production in the north central plains. He made a lot of contributions and so we chose to name it KanMark in recognition of his contributions in conjunction with a century of wheat improvement at K-State. (Eric) Its identified traits and what it’s hoping to address in the way of wheat production challenges. (Allan) We think KanMark is probably best adapted to the western part of the state. So I kind of draw a line more or less from Russell, north and south and west of that is probably the best area of adaptation. It will still do well in the central part of the state, but I think historically it’s been best out west. We have about a three bushel advantage over Tam 111 in the last three years, so it’s done really well in dry land environments. It’s a shorter wheat. I was a little concerned about how short it might be under drought, but it maintained its height pretty well this year under the severe drought. Some other advantages that it has, is it does have resistance to both leaf rust and stripe rust, which is an advantage over Tam 111, and some of the other western adapted wheats. It has done really, really well under irrigated conditions so I think under irrigated conditions, it will do well. It is susceptible to scab and fairly susceptible to powdery mildew, but again kind of where we’re targeting it, those aren’t issues that we’re terribly concerned about. (Eric) And in previous conversations about this new variety, you’ve lauded its yield consistency over time which may be one of its greatest strengths anyway. (Allan) I look at it as more of a work horse than a race horse variety. So, it’s been really consistent. It isn’t necessarily the best line in the test all that often, but it’s usually in the top third or so of the test. And so it’s very consistent. That’s a trade I really like in a variety, is one that is just a very good consistent performer. (Eric) Expected to be in the hunt for quality yields for several years running once it’s released. (Allan) It does have some genetics in the background for race non-specific rust resistance which should be more durable. I am not really convinced we have that package in this variety but I’m hoping there is at least some component of that. So, I’m hoping there’s some durability to rust resistance. (Eric) As a producer check the performance plots as they turn up this next growing season and make some assessments for yourselves when that time comes. (Allan) Yea, it was in this year’s variety performance test under it’s experimental number and it will be under KanMark for 2015. (Eric) So, the momentum in general, for the wheat breeding program here at K-State is really to the positive and moving pretty fast. Maybe as fast as it has in your tenure Allan. (Allan) Yea, I’m really excited about where we’re at. I think I look at the next set of material that’s coming probably for 2016, there’s a number of lines there that look really good. Some lines that I think will fit central Kansas very well. I look at the people we have here in Jessie Poland and Edward Akhunov and Harold Trick and the people in plant pathology and entomology and everybody that we work with. I think we have a great team put together. I think everything is headed in the right direction. Tremendous support from Kansas Wheat Alliance, Kansas Wheat Commission. So, I think we’re poised to do good things for Kansas Farmers well into the future.

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