Dr. Amir Ibrahim, a wheat breeder and professor with Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences department, and Dr. Brett Carver, Oklahoma State University wheat breeder, also are collaborating in the research.
Carver has been interested in identifying a cool season perennial for several year, primarily for grazing, Rush said. Ibrahim is concentrating on the germplasm traits concerning disease resistance, heat tolerance and drought tolerance.
The studies also are generating international interest, Rush said. He has been contacted by personnel at the Jon Innes Centre in Norwich, England, who want to help the United Kingdom address how agronomic practices affect habitat of and numbers of wild birds. They are looking for low-input perennial cereals and have requested seed from Rushs trials.
In September 2006, Rush planted three replications of 20 lines of perennial wheat provided by Washington State University, plus seven non-perennial varieties already in commercial production in the High Plains, for comparison.
Additionally, the plots were bordered on one side with a variety highly susceptible to wheat streak mosaic virus and on the other with a highly resistant variety.
Disease screening and forage quality sampling using remote imaging techniques to measure the biomass were completed throughout the growing cycle, Rush said.
The first year of research showed the grazing is as good as any annual wheat, and cattle could have been put onto the plots by mid September, he said. The grain production was about half that of annual wheats, as expected.
In the second year of his research, Rush said things will be headed in three directions. First, there will be the perennial wheat trials a
|Contact: Charlie Rush|
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications