Netional Wheat Improvement Committee Meeting - Minutes


10 November, 2002.
Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Committee members: Dave Van Sanford (chair), J. Costa (vice-chair), Bob Graybosch, Kim Garland Campbell, David Garvin, Harold Bockelman, Scott Haley, S. Perry, Alan Fritz, Elias Elias, Yue Jin, James Anderson, Joseph Anderson, and Carl Griffey.

Noncommittee members: Kay Walker-Simmons, S. Metz, Robert Bowden, Jim Kolmer, S. Canty, C. Gaines, Jackie Rudd, Bikram Gill, Dave Marshall, and Olin Anderson.


The minutes of the January 2002 NWIC meeting were approved as published in the Annual Wheat Newsletter (48:7-11).

Annual Wheat Newsletter.

A report on the financial status, publication, and distribution of the Annual Wheat Newsletter, submitted by Jon Raupp, was presented by Dave Van Sanford.


Wheat Crop Germplasm Committee.

Kim Garland Campbell gave a summary of the annual meeting of the Wheat Crop Germplasm Committee. Efforts to arrange an English translation of Russian 'Taxonomy of the Triticeae' were described. The work will be published electronically, and printed copies will be published if arrangements can be made. The role of CGC is to advise the USDA­ARS National Small Grain Collection on priorities for the evaluation of germ plasm in the collection.

USDA-ARS FY2003 Report.

Kay Walker-Simmons gave a summary of items in the U.S. Government FY2003 budget affecting wheat research and the ARS budget. All potential cuts of ARS programs have been restored in the present version of the budget, plus $325,000 for a genotyping lab at Raleigh, and funding increases for the Cereal Disease Lab, the scab initiative, the Karnal bunt initiative, and the Western Wheat Quality Lab at Pullman. However, at this writing, nothing is final until the budget is approved, which likely will not occur until January 2003.


Regional reports.

Eastern soft wheat region. Joe Anderson reported the Eastern Wheat Workers met in January 2002 in St. Louis, MO. The number of entries in the Eastern Soft Red Winter Wheat Uniform Performance Nursery will be limited to three per coöperator due to space limitations. Roger Ratcliff, USDA­ARS and Purdue University, was recognized upon his retirement after a successful career working with Hessian fly. Additional ARS staffing changes at Purdue were described. The research group now has nine scientists, six on wheat, including work in virology, Septoria, Hessian fly, and risk assessment of biotechnology.

Spring wheat region. Carl Griffey reported wheat acreage was up but freeze damage had hurt yields; wet weather during planting the autumn of 2002 also has been a problem. The Southern Wheat Workers will hold a meeting in April in Little Rock, with a field trip to Stuttgart. The Southern Wheat Workers have requested USDA waive restriction on grain from CIMMYT raised in Karnal bunt-free areas and asked that NWIC address this issue. Dave Marshall, newly installed as Research Leader at Raleigh, gave a report on the status of research positions at Raleigh. Dave will focus on leaf rust, powdery mildew and crown rust in wheat, barley, and oats.

Western region. Dan Skinner was appointed the new research leader with the ARS at Washington State. AgriPro will be establishing a new breeding facility in eastern Washington this June. A decrease in wheat acreage has occurred, due to both planting reductions and drought. The next western wheat workers meeting will be around 10 July, 2002, in the Idaho Falls/Aberdeen area. There was a discussion on the eastern European nursery distributed by Oregon State University. Monsanto donated the Hybritech germ plasm to public programs in the region.

Winter wheat region. Scott Haley reported harvested acreage was at a 30 year low; planted acreage was up this autumn. Very dry, hot conditions prevailed last season. Recent events include the rise of a possible new race of leaf rust and the commercialization of Clearfield wheats. The U.S. Congress has approved a hard white wheat market incentive program to increase seeded acres of hard white wheat. The annual breeders' field day was held at Akron, CO; the 2003 field day will be at Bushland, TX, in May. New positions in the region include Dirk Hays in the molecular enhancement of grain quality at College Station, TX. Gayleen Morgan will be assuming a full-time, small grains extension position, also at College Station. At Kansas State, Bob Bowden has assumed the position of Research Leader with the USDA­ARS and will continue research on rusts. Dr. Jim Quick, once a wheat breeder at Colorado State, has announced his retirement from the position of chair of the Department of Crop Science. The recent passing of Dr. Kenny Porter, former wheat breeder at Amarillo, TX, was noted.

Pacific Northwest region. Kim Garland Campbell presented information on changes and conditions in the region. Kulvinder Gill has assumed the Orvil Vogel chair in wheat research at Washington State University. Russel Karow was appointed as chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University. Increased funding at the USDA­ARS Western Wheat Quality Lab will allow the addition of a scientist to study Asian food products. Planting acreage increased this year. AgriPro has established a breeding facility near Spokane. Potential collaborative research programs for wheat in central Asian were described.

Northern region. Dave Garvin has filled the USDA­ARS position formerly held by Bob Busch (happy retirement, Bob!) at St. Paul, MN. The position will work on germ plasm enhancement, including disease resistance, and will continue to coördinate the regional nursery. The Cereal Disease lab needs an increase in funding for current positions and facilities. At North Dakota State University, Drs. Maan and Frohberg retired, and Dr. Mohamed Mergoum from CIMMYT has been hired to assume the spring wheat breeding duties. Also at NDSU, Mike Edwards has been appointed as the ARS new research leader. The spring wheat crop acreage remains stable, with recurring problems with scab in the eastern zone. New races of stem rust seem to be appearing.

Elias Elias described staffing changes in the region. Mohamed Mergoum has assumed the position of spring wheat breeder at North Dakota State University, and Xiwen Cai has joined the faculty at NDSU as a wheat cytogeneticist. Steven S. Xu, research geneticist, also joined USDA­ARS at Fargo. Dr. Karl Glover is now the spring wheat breeder at South Dakota State University. Crop conditions in 2002 were variable. Fusarium head blight took most of the crop in the Red River Valley, dry conditions hurt the west, and sprout damage hit the middle. There will be two ARS genotyping positions started at Fargo. Dave Garvin reported on his position with ARS at St. Paul, MN. His duties will include basic research on scab; novel sources of resistance; genetic basis of suppressor effects in T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides; stem and leaf rust resistance, especially mapping and genomics of leaf rust-resistance genes; components of wheat grain that will enhance human health, and he will coördinate the Hard Spring Wheat Regional Nurseries. Funding is available to replace Don McVey's (now retired) position in leaf and stem rust, and an offer has been extended. Dr. William Bushnell, plant physiologist, has retired from the Cereal Disease Lab and will be replaced in the spring, pending availability of funding.


IGROW project update.

Bikram Gill reported on the IGROW initiative (International Genome Research on Wheat) and on National Science Foundation funding (or lack thereof) for wheat genomics research. Wheat is not on the NSF priority list at the moment, the only thing coming close is some mention of 'sequencing the gene-rich regions of crop species'. The need for a national wheat meeting to coördinate wheat research and better its position for increased funding was discussed. It was noted that lobbying, the national wheat research meetings, and a planning workshop should be part of a three-pronged approach to increase research funding for wheat genomics. Kim Campbell motioned that Olin Anderson and Bikram Gill organize a wheat genomics planning workshop. Joe Anderson seconded. Motion passed. Scott Haley, Kim Campbell, and Carl Griffey were appointed to a subcommittee to determine if a national wheat meeting is warranted.


Roundup-ready wheat.

Sally Metz, Monsanto Corp., gave an overview of the status of Roundup Ready Wheat and described the company's necessary milestones before commercialization. These include 1) demonstrating food, feed, and environmental safety and resultant regulatory approvals in the U.S., Canada, and Japan; 2) making sure the appropriate regulatory trade approvals, thresholds, or marketing agreements must be in place in major export markets; 3) appropriating grain-handling protocols must be developed, as well as agronomic stewardship and controling pollen-mediated gene flow; 4) meeting or exceeding industry standards for grain end-use quality in cultivars; and 5) identifying buyers who will procure and use wheat ingredients with biotech traits.


Rust screening at the Cereal Disease Laboratory.

Jim Kolmer reported on the future of rust screening at the Cereal Disease Lab. Don McVey has retired, and a search for his replacement is underway. Future rust screening likely will be limited to lines submitted to the Uniform Regional Nurseries.


Material transfer agreements and germ plasm exchange.

Scott Haley described and discussed CIMMYT's material transfer agreement. CIMMYT may now claims rights to all materials derived from crossing with their materials. The ARS is attempting to negotiate a new MTA to be used between public institutions and CIMMYT. Allan Fritz, Carl Griffey, and Bob Graybosch will form a subcommittee to address Wheat Breeder's Code of Ethics; should it be modified to reflect changing times ?


GrainGenes update.

Olin Anderson reported that the current goal is to try to define the role of GrainGenes in the future and to formalize a way to obtain feedback from users. Site visits are underway to visit specific locations, evaluate the usefulness of GrainGenes, and provide instruction in the operation of the system.


Other business.

Jim Anderson reported on the status license agreements for SSRs from Gatersleben, Germany.

Quality Laboratories. Scott Haley and Charles Gaines provided update on the financial situation and use of new funds.

Genotyping centers. Three labs (Fargo, ND; Manhattan, KS; and Raleigh, NC) now are established but not yet at full funding levels. The laboratory at Pullman, WA, has received no funding.

Karnal Bunt Initiative. The KB initiative is asking for approximately $1.8 million in research funding. The KB initiative has formed an executive committee and an advisory committee that will include growers who will provide oversight and advice to the executive committee. A meeting planned for South Padre Island in March, in association with the Caribbean Section of American Pytopathology Society.

Funding priorities.

Members voted to establish priorities for increase funding in FY2004. In order of priority, these include

  1. 1. increased funding for the ARS Wheat Quality Laboratories,
  2. 2. increased funding for the ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory,
  3. 3. increased funding for the Quality laboratories,
  4. 4. funding of the Karnal Bunt Initiative,
  5. 5. continued and increased funding for the Scab Initiative,
  6. 6. establishment of a sprout tolerance position at Fargo, ND, and
  7. 7. establishment of an invasive aphid position at Stillwater, OK.

Building and maintenance initiatives.

The committee voted to support efforts to improve ARS building facilities in the following order of priority:

  1. 1. improvements to the Cereal Disease Laboratory,
  2. 2. improvements to the National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility, Aberdeen, ID,
  3. 3. the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, ND, and
  4. 4. the ARS Research Facility, Pullman, WA.


Jim Anderson moved we meet again with the Scab Forum; Dave Garvin seconded. Motion passed. The NWIC will meet 15-16 December, 2003, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

R. Graybosch, Secretary, NWIC.