Cook To Speak On MSU Spring Wheat Breeding

Over the years, Montana State University (MSU) breeders have developed several wheat varieties and continue to do so. Dr. Jason Cook, MSU-Bozeman trait integration breeder and geneticist, will be speaking about the MSU spring wheat breeding program starting at 9-9:15 a.m. at EARC Field Day, July 20. 

Cook will be providing an update on wheat varieties that are doing well in eastern Montana and sharing information on some of the new up and coming varieties that are coming out of the breeding program. He will focus on Hard Red Spring Wheat varieties and provide data on how well these different varieties yield, what their economic performance looks like out of the field, and share information on their grain protein content for quality purposes.

"The information that I will be talking about can be used by growers to decide what variety will best fit their operation," said Cook. 

The MSU Wheat Breeding Program goal is to develop new varieties that increase yield and quality for its buyers and add genes that help provide disease and insect resistance.

"We develop new spring wheat varieties for Montana producers and do genetic studies to better understand the genetics that control the traits that we are interested in to help improve and increase productivity of spring wheat varieties in Montana," said Cook. 

Cook has been working with the MSU spring wheat program since 2015 and prior to that, he was breeding wheat for a private company. He received his PhD at University of Wisconsin - Madison in plant breeding and plant genetics in 2009. Cook is knowledgeable of all aspects of the MSU plant-breeding program and has a track record of success in obtaining research funding and completing and publishing research projects. His on-going research focuses on the genes impacting wheat yield, wheat stem sawfly resistance, and fusarium head blight tolerance.

Going forward he will closely monitor wheat varieties to see what is doing best under severe drought conditions. 

He said, "This is a contrast to the past 2-3 years where we have had quite a bit of rain. Drought is a big topic this year so I hope to be able to provide some research information on how well these different varieties are holding up to drought conditions."


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