Private Grants & Contracts Funding | Food Security
Vermont | University of Vermont Extension | Northeast Region
New commercial wheat variety may be released in 2015. It was built on work from late 1800s, UVM's father of wheat breeding.
In the 1880s, Vermont was dubbed the "bread basket of New England" because of its high wheat production. However, at the turn of the century, Vermont lost its grain production and with it, its indigenous knowledge and infrastructure needed to produce these crops. Recently, farmers throughout Vermont and the Northeast region have requested information about local grain production to meet increased demands from consumers. In particular, they have asked for information about seed that is adapted to Northeast climatic conditions. Adapted varieties will help farmers combat local climate and pest issues helping them to produce a healthy crop.
In partnership with the Northern Grain Growers Association, the University of Vermont Extension's Northwest Crops and Soils program is working to create a renaissance of a local grain industry in Vermont. With a focus on seeds, the program has resurrected 50 heirloom wheat varieties and is testing their potential in our climate, especially their tolerance to today's pest and disease pressures. Through a farmer-centered seed breeding project, the program used Pringle's varieties to create 15 unique wheat crosses that have potential for the Northeast region.
For the past 7 years, Extension specialists and farmer partners have selected plants based on favorable characteristics which have been tested for quality and suitability for our region. We have determined that these cultivars may offer farmers new markets that meet the growing demand for heirloom grains. At the same time, the program is creating new wheat varieties based on the work of Cyrus Pringle, UVM's father of wheat breeding. In the 1880's, Pringle developed several spring wheat varieties. Traditional plant breeding takes time but through this work, the program hopes to release a new commercial wheat variety adapted to Vermont's climatic conditions in 2015.
Building on work done by Cyrus Pringle, UVMs father of wheat breeding in the late 1800s, research teams plan to release a new commercial wheat variety adapted to Vermont's climatatic conditions. This work has brought consumers another local food product while helping farms diversify and market their products locally.