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David Sparks Ph.d NW Wheat Production
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 03, 2017

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During a conversation with Darcy Pawlik, a Washington state-based representative from Syngenta who specializes in wheat, I asked him to compare Washington, Oregon and Idaho in terms of their wheat production. “It's an interesting question when you ask the differences between Washington, Idaho and Oregon. When we look at the wheat market throughout the Pacific Northwest, there are eight or nine different microclimates which go from high rainfall to almost extremes in low rainfall including parts of Oregon and certainly in Idaho. You've got a real mixed bag. So just to begin to try and explain some of those differences is a bit of a challenge but we do breed differently for each of those regions depending on whether we are making sure we are getting out of the ground if there is lower moisture. In some places we are looking for higher vigor ability to get out of the ground early by using early-season moisture. In Idaho, to some extent, we look a little more resistance to drought. Plants are going to be a little bit more resistant to the forces of nature. So it is a real mixed bag but at the end of the day, we are always breeding for yield and we are always trying to make sure that there is a pathogen package that is going to suit each and every one of those different regions. Frankly they are changing and we try and stay ahead of the game as best we can and thankfully our program is large enough that we can make selections in real time and promote varieties that are going to fit best to those different regions depending on what's going on, whether it's the climate or diseases that are present there. We also want to make sure it is suitable for quality purposes for the export market.

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