A Database for Triticeae and Avena
MINUTES OF THE NATIONAL WHEAT IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE (NWIC)
8-9 February, 2000.
Las Vegas, NV, USA.
Committee Members: Committee members: R.G. Sears, Chair;
S. Leath, Secretary, Greg Marshall; Bob Zemetra; Tim Murray; Scott
Haley; Bob Graybosch; P. Stephen Baenziger; Yue Jin; Jackie Rudd;
John Moffat; Ben Handcock; Harold Bockelman; Elias Elias; Bob
Busch; and Jim Peterson.
Non-Committee Members: Dave Van Sanford, Mike Davis,
Rick Ward, Don Koeltzou, Joe Smith, Benjamin Moreno-Sevilla, Steven
Scherer, Rob Bruns, Jochum Wiersma, and Dave Marshall.
Chairman Sears called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m. and introduced
members and guests.
The agenda was reviewed and briefly discussed. Minutes were
not read but approved as published in the 1999 Annual Wheat
Newsletter, Volume 45. Due to Leath's travel schedule,
Bob Busch agreed to take notes on the second day of the meeting.
NAWG GMO definition.
Chairman Sears volunteered the NWIC to act as a sounding board
for NAWG as it attempts to develop a definition of 'genetically
modified'. Darrell Hanavan, executive director of the Colorado
Wheat Association as well as four other groups or committees,
presented an update on the work from those groups. He read a preliminary
dratt of their definition and asked for comments. A long discussion
on the merits of the definition as proposed and the merits of
even having a definition followed. The NWIC had no major problems
with the draft, but some suggestions were made.
Steve Leath gave an overview of the president's proposed budget
with regard to cereal grain research and provided details on programs
that would be inpacted. After discussion by the committee, it
was decided that further debate would be needed when the legislative
agenda was addressed.
Annual Wheat Newsletter.
J. Raupp was not present but submitted a report. A total of 210
CD's were produced at a cost of $1.00 each and an associated cost
of $0.40 for shipping in the U.S. In addition, 125 hard copies
were printed. The amount of effort involved in preparing the Newsletter
was discussed, and a motion was made by Busch for the committee
to show its support. The motion instructed the committee to send
a letter to Raupp thanking him for his efforts with copies to
be sent to Gill and the department head and dean at KSU.
Eastern soft wheat region (Gregg Marshall). No changes
were reported, except that acreage is down. Pioneer merged with
Dupont, and the Ohio State wheat breeding position is still open.
Carl Griffey indicated that Kolmer's position at North Carolina
State is for disease resistance (mildew and rust resistance),
but it was put on a list for no funding. Griffey felt that the
soft wheat area may need more characterization for end-use versus
agronomic performance, i.e., some varieties may be better for
cookies, others for crackers.
Spring wheat region (Jackie Rudd). The potential for
epidemics of scab remain the main concern in this region. SDSU
still has a position open for a HRWW breeder. E. Elias reported
for NDSU that William Berzonsky took HWSW breeding position, in
Cereal Science Frank Massey filled the HRSW quality position,
and the USDA-ARS durum genetics position has been filled by Justin
Farris. Norman Williams, USDA-ARS wheat rust geneticist retired
in June, 1999, and the position is not expected to be refilled.
R. Busch, Minnesota, reported that there were two positions open
in the Deptartment of Plant Pathology, one for a small grains
disease extension specialist at Crookston, MN and the L-O Chair
for Small Grains Disease Resistance, St. Paul. The USDA-ARS Cereal
Disease Lab has a open positions in small grains diseases and
for a research geneticist in wheat to replace Busch.
Western region (Tim Murray ). Kim Campbell took the
USDA-ARS club wheat breeding position at Washington and Rollie
Line, USDA-ARS plant pathologist retired; the position of J. Cook
possibly may be refilled. The condition of the wheat crop looks
poor but appears to be improving.
J. Peterson indicated that Dave Shelton, wheat quality, has
left Nebraska and is at the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland,
OR. Oregon State may have three positions in small grains that
will be funded from research initiatives.
Winter wheat region (S. Baenziger). Rollie Sears and
Dave Worrall have left their university wheat breeding positions
and joined AgriPro. Kansas has hired Alan Fritz as the new wheat
breeder. The wheat breeding position at Texas A&M is unfilled.
Many changes at HybriTech have occurred since research on hybrid
wheat was discontinued for work on HRWW and western soft whites.
Wheat quality issues.
Rob Bruns has represented the NWIC at workshops on grain quality
for about 10 years to maintain a wheat voice in quality issues.
For example, with NWIC input last year, white color standards
for wheat were established. However, an objective test for color
is still necessary because of problems with accurately identifying
white wheat. Rob Bruns is interested is working with another person
to introduce them into the working group as a possible replacement.
Donald Koeltzow, director of the USDA-ARS Grain Marketing and
Production Research Center, Manhattan, KS, announced that the
next International Wheat Quality Conference would by held in 2001
at Manhattan, KS. Suggestions for topics were requested. Funding
for the four USDA-ARS wheat quality laboratories is being sought.
A handout detailing suggested needs for each of the four laboratories
was distributed, which suggested several additional areas of research.
H.B. Collins from Delta and Land Pine Co. presented the case
for the TPS (nicknamed the 'terminator' system). This complex
system of multiple components allows for seed increase, but when
sprayed with a'trigger', prevents seed germination. The system
has provoked considerable response in the popular press as applied
to self-pollinated species. Development would provide control
over seed production that would require the purchase of new seed
each year. The advantages (lack of volunteers, profit to companies)
and disadvantages (complex, reliability, public perception) of
this system were discussed. The technology has not yet been transferred
into higher plants (tobacco used as model, started in cotton)
and is still years away from commercial application.
Germ plasm exchange issues.
Stephen Baenziger reported that the Wheat Workers Code of Ethics
is used for most seed exchange in wheat, but it mainly refers
to unreleased germ plasm. A Code of Ethics subcommittee consisting
of Robert Graybosh (chair), Dave Van Sanford, and John Moffett
are charged with reviewing and modifying the code to include released
germ plasm and review and make suggestions on how to protect specialty
traits in wheat lines that are entered in the Uniform Regional
Nurseries. The NWIC would prefer to protect the trait but allow
crossing with the germ plasm, excluding the trait. Crop improvement
preparedness for handling new types of germ plasm was tabled.
The Southwestern Consortium for Wheat Improvement was briefly
described and involves three states, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Wheat Crop Germplasm Committee. For the first time,
the Crop Germplasm Committee did not meet concurrently with the
NWIC. The wheat Crop Germplasm Committee was initiated originallyas
a subcommittee of the NWIC. Many members of the NWIC have attended
the CGC meeting held the previous evening, and some members of
the CGC have attended the NWIC meetings the following day. Reports
of the CGC activities have been reported in the minutes of the
NWIC meetings. Now, the wheat CGC will meet in March rather than
with the NWIC. The NWIC members encourage the CGC to again meet
with the NWIC. A motion (S. Baenziger) was made to encourage the
CGC to meet with the NWIC, seconded (D. Marshall), and passed
Viability of accession from the Small Grains Collection.
Harold Bockelman would like to know when a problem exists with
seed germination. If problems are encountered, contact Harold
immediately. Bockelman also was asked to find out the current
status of small grain collections in Russia. The Vavilov collection
is of most concern and if contributions for the maintenance of
the collection from the U.S. are possible.
Wheat scab issues.
Rick Ward and Mike Davis were present to describe how funding
was obtained on a national basis for the United States Wheat &
Barley Scab Initiative. Collaboration of industry, the Miller's
Federation, and the American Malting Barley Association provided
end-user input into the lobbying effort. The Minnesota Wheat Research
and Promotion Council, in conjunction with North Dakota and South
Dakota, provided the main grower input into the funding effort.
Documented losses and accountability have provided further success
in obtaining funding, with the Initiative funding research in
20 states and providing some baseline funding for federal positions.
Mike Davis, American Malting Barley Association, provided insight
into the requirements necessary to have success in lobbying for
funding research proposals. Information on the International Scab
Meeting held in China and general areas funded by the U.S. Scab
Initiative was distributed. CIMMYT participation in the scab effort
and the proposed interaction with U.S. scientists involving nurseries
and germ plasm also was discussed.
Regional marker laboratories.
Robert Zemetra suggested establishing a regional ARS laboratory
for regional molecular-genotyping to facilitate small grain cereals
improvement as the most cost effective application of biotechnology.
Included in this description was the need for more space at the
USDA-ARS National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility at
Aberdeen, ID. Zemetra proposed that the first molecular genotyping
laboratory be established there. Dave Van Sanford indicated that
they had discussed this type of laboratory at the ASA national
meetings, but did not think that Aberdeen was the ideal location.
The laboratory was proposed as a place where breeders, both public
and private, could send germ plasm for molecular-marker characterization
and gene sequencing and to develop new markers for future marker-assisted
selection. Rick Ward suggested that instead of developing a new
building and equipment, the USDA-ARS unit at Kansas State (John
Fellers and Gina Brown-Guedira) be used. They have a new ABI gene
sequencer valued at ~$120,000 that was purchased with help of
the Kansas Wheat Commission. Ward suggested providing $500,000
to the CRIS budgets of Fellers and Brown-Guedira for additional
operating and personnel to initiate the service laboratory. If
the USW&BSI gets the additional $800,000 that is being requested,
certain breeding programs would collaborate with the proposed
laboratory to attempt to use and integrate their programs and
to help provide operation. Considerable discussion followed on
the amount and direction of the KSU ARS group, since they are
category I scientists and need category III scientists to run
the service. They will need to integrate their program with small
grains molecular marker breeding systems. Griffey moved and G.
Marshall seconded a motion to plan to use the laboratory already
in place as support for genotyping and attempt to add $500,000
to Fellers and Brown-Guedira's CRIS budgets. The motion passed
with seven votes for and five opposed.
In addition, the subcommittee will help develop plans for a
molecular marker service in conjunction with the ARS unit at KSU,
and if money is obtained, provide oversight and informal evaluation.
R. Busch was asked to supply a list of the top 10 accomplishments
in wheat breeding in the last 40 years. A list containing his
and other contributor's suggestions was distributed for further
comment and suggeshons. After these suggestions were incorporated
into the list, it was distributed back to the NWIC. The following
USDA Wheat Quality Laboratory funding.
Federal wheat quality labs are important for national and international
wheat trade and to develop appropriate varieties for the trade.
The NWIC suggests that a subcommittee help revise the proposal
and partner with the laboratories to develop an instrument that
communicates the issues to stakeholder in a clear manner. A motion
(S. Haley) was seconded (S. Baenziger) and passed. Subcommittee
members included Chair S. Haley (winter wheat), C. Griffey (east),
E. Elias (spring wheat), and J. Peterson (west).
CSREES grants program.
S. Baenziger was to provide information about the new competitive
grants program. Letters were to be sent to S. Gonzales, Assistant
Secretary of Agriculture, and to leaders of the house and senate
Agricultural Committees of Grant Funds to obtain information.
A description of the new grants as sent by S. Baenziger follows:
NWIC support for the CSREES Initiative for Future Agriculture
and Food Systems (IFAFS) Program. The Initiative for Future
Agriculture and Food Systems is a new competitive grants program,
which has the following priority areas: agricultural genomics;
agricultural biotechnology; food safety, food technologies, and
human nutrition; new uses for agricultural products; natural resource
management, including precision agriculture; and farm efficiency
About $113 million USD is available for grants through this
initiative in 2000. The initiative will give priority to proposals
that successfully integrate research, extension, and education
and/or address the concerns of small and mid-sized producers and
land managers (especially in natural resource management and farm
efficiency and profitability). The goal of IFAFS is to award large
grants to multi-state, multi-institutional, and multi-disciplinary
projects, and preference will be given to these projects.
Justification. Agricultural research is underfunded
and much of its resources are tied to specific missions or projects.
To complement the needed project orientation of agricultural research,
additional, new, competitive grant funds are needed such as are
being proposed in IFAFS. Especially critical is the funding of
multistate projects and recognizing the importance of wheat and
other small grains in small and mid-sized farm profitability.
A more complete description of this new program is available
Objective discrimination of hard white wheat.
A letter to be sent to Dave Shipman and Irv Williams, GIPSA,
and to the Grain Quality Workshop urges adoption of an object
method of determining white wheat. A motion was made (J. Moffett)
and seconded (S. Baezinger).
The NWIC consistently has supported the implementation of a
color standard for hard white wheat. Maintaining the integrity
and value of both red and white classes is important.
Our committee feels that the current color standard is an appropriate
interim approach to correctly classify white wheat. In the longer
term, it is crucially important that objective systems be identified
and implemented as soon as practical.
A number of objective-based options need to be exploited that
could lead to a test that is fast, reliable, and inexpensive.
We should not lose focus on this issue.
The committe approved that a letter be sent to Rob Bruns, thanking
him for serving as our representative to the Grain Quality Workshop
and his continued representation. Rob has an interest in involving
other people, but will continue as the representative. Anyone
else that is interested, shold give their name to Rollie. A second
letter will go to Rollie Line and Robert Busch thanking them for
their service to the NWIC.
Legislative agenda items.
1. Funding for four ARS Wheat Quality Labs (see committee report
that was chaired by Scott Haley).
2. Funding for the Small Grains Collection Addition-$3 million.
3. Funding for a Molecular Genotyping Laboratory, $500,000 for
ARS at KSU.
4. A funding addition for the Northern Crop Science Lab (NCSL)
at Fargo; $600,000-750,000 for two new positions and remainder
A motion made (E. Elias) to support these items was seconded
(C. Griffey) and passed.
Rollie Sears announced that next year would be his last as
chair of the NWIC. Nominations are needed to fill the this position.
The next meeting of the NWIC will be held in conjunction with
the Wheat Industry Conference and Exposition, New Orleans, LA,
at the Fairmont Hotel. Dates of the meetings are 29 January-3
February, 2001. Hopefully, the wheat CGC will join the NWIC.