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Scab ResistanceA major emphasis in my research and breeding program is on scab (Fusarium head blight) resistance in wheat. Scab and septoria have become more severe as more farmers adopt conservation tillage practices. The additional plant residue on the surface harbors the spores for these diseases. Development of resistant varieties is important to reduce severe losses in yield and quality due to these pathogens. We are working on the development of scab resistant genotypes by using greenhouse evaluations and evaluations in a misted, inoculated field nursery to select for scab resistance. In addition, we are using molecular markers to identify chromosomal regions of wheat with quantitative trait loci for scab resistance. This research will continue to be an area of emphasis in my program due to the importance of scab resistance to the wheat producers of Illinois.
Barley Yellow Dwarf VirusSeveral studies have been conducted on BYDV. The objectives in these studies are to increase our knowledge of BYDV tolerance in oat and wheat, develop materials that have better tolerance to BYDV, or develop germplasm that can be used to study the inheritance of BYDV and molecular markers associated with genes for BYDV tolerance. One project is aimed at evaluating near-isogenic lines of oats that differ only in their level of BYDV tolerance. These lines are quite useful as research tools both for studying BYDV and also for molecular marker mapping studies. Some of the genotypes developed in this project have been used in several research projects studying BYDV in oats.
Recent Cultivar ReleasesThe wheat variety Kaskaskia was released as a public variety in 1998. Kaskaskia has high yield potential, high test weight, and excellent winter hardiness. In addition, five soft red winter wheat lines have been released into commercial production as brand labeled varieties including the registration of a line for production in Canada. Two oat varieties, Rodeo and Chaps, were released in 1996. Both varieties have high yield potential. A third oat variety, Blaze, was released in 1998. Blaze also has quite high yield potential combined with good test weight, excellent BYDV tolerance, and good crown rust resistance. Another oat variety, Spurs, was released in 2003. Spurs has excellent yield potential, very good test weight and is tolerant to BYDV and moderately resistant to crown rust. Oat varieties Buckskin and Tack were released in 2006. Buckskin has very high yield potential and Tack was released because of exceptionally high test weight. A new variety will be named and released in 2009-2010. This variety (which has not yet been named) combined high yield potential with high test weight and earliness. A second breeding line will be released in cooperation with Cornell University for production in New York and the Northeast. This line has yielded very well in evaluations in New York. These varieties will provide improved profitability to producers through higher returns per acre.