Research and its funding are an integral part of success in agriculture. Growing wheat efficiently and economically is an important to the profitability equation for wheat farmers as is marketing. Wheat checkoff dollars provide for continuing and new research in the areas of: Wheat Variety Development; Wheat Production and Management; Disease; Weed and Pest Control; New Technology; Crop Quality Evaluation; and Market Research.
The primary objective of the wheat breeding effort at SDSU is varietal development and release. The breeding objectives of the programs include: high yield and stability of yield, superior end-use quality (milling and baking), desirable agronomic characteristics (optimum maturity and plant height, long coleoptile, standability), disease and insect resistance (various fungal and viral pathogens and cereal aphids), and environmental stress tolerance (freezing, drought, heat). While it is virtually impossible to combine all of these characteristics into a single “perfect” variety, continuous work toward these objectives will ensure that new varieties possess as many desirable characteristics as possible.
Pest management research tries to address the problems in production agriculture. Wheat diseases have significant economical impact on producers. With funding from the South Dakota Wheat Commission and grants from federal programs, research projects address various aspects of important diseases with emphasis on sources and genetics of disease resistance, germplasm enhancement and cultivor improvements for disease resistance. Studies show that the wheat streak mosaic virus alone causes losses of 2.5 to 5 million bushels of winter wheat annually and greater losses in epidemic years.
Throughout the year numerous management projects have been funded by the South Dakota Wheat Commission including purchasing soil probes to give an early warning on potential winter injury, developing fertilizer management practices that decrease production costs while developing an effective management scheme for N fertilizer, evaluating crop rotations to decide if diseases or other factors cause yield differences, researching the possibility of planting winter wheat early to produce cover to reduce wind erosion thus meeting conservation compliance plans, etc.