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Baking Quality in Spring Wheat, Buckwheat Production

Baking Quality in Spring Wheat, Buckwheat Production

spring_wheat_1Early maturity and baking quality in spring wheat for western Washington and Alaska

B.F. Econopouly, J. Bethony, S.R. Lyon, and S.S. Jones

Washington State University, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Nordic historic and modern varieties will be evaluated under the growing conditions in western WA. Priority field traits for evaluation and selection include maturity (days to senescence), disease resistance, quality, and yield. Micronutrient content and availability will also be determined. Varieties with superior agronomic performance will be evaluated for whole-wheat baking quality in The Bread Lab.

Two independent trials were planted at WSU, Mount Vernon using a randomized complete block design with three replications. One trial contains modern varieties and breeding lines from Dr. Anders Børgen, Agrologica, Denmark. The second trial contains historical Nordic lines that have retained the original Gpc-B1 allele, absent from modern U.S. varieties. This allele is associated with increased protein content, micronutrient content (iron and zinc) and earlier maturity, depending upon genetic background and environment. The allele is also linked to the high-temperature adult-plant (HTAP) stripe rust resistance gene, Yr36.

Future trials (beginning 2016) will be replicated in collaboration with the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, in a climate where early maturing spring varieties are also necessary due to a short growing season.

Buckwheat production in western Washington

B.F. Econopouly, S.R. Lyon, and S.S. Jones

Washington State University, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Washington State is one of the largest producers of buckwheat in the nation with over 200,000 bushels produced in 2012. The majority of this production occurs in central Washington with limited production and processing capacity in the western part of the state. Production is inhibited by inaccessibility of suitable seed for the climate and management systems employed in western WA and by the absence of infrastructure for cultivation and processing.

Farmers cannot source improved varieties unless under contract, committing farmers to selling grain back to seed dealers at a fixed price. Under these circumstances farmers and regional processers cannot profit from value added to their products through de-hulling or milling, or from selling direct to customer. Linking farming, processing, and consumption within a regional locality is directly compromised by the requirement to return raw materials back to seed producers. Public varieties of buckwheat developed for western WA would enable regional production of buckwheat that can be directly linked to new regional processing facilities and markets.

The aim of this project is to evaluate high quality Japanese and North American varieties of buckwheat for agronomic, milling, and quality traits to develop an open-pollinated variety through repeated years of mass selection and evaluation. Agronomic performance will be assessed at WSU, Mount Vernon, while collaborating growers will evaluate the challenges and feasibility of production on farm. Milling of buckwheat into flour and soba noodles will be performed by Yoshitomo Arakawa, a Japanese buckwheat miller based in Tokyo, and resulting flour assessed by Soma Matsuka, owner and chef of Miyabi 45th, Seattle. The Port of Skagit is currently assessing development of regional post-harvest processing infrastructure and market opportunity in collaboration with The Bread Lab.