On-farm wheat breeding began in Vermont, in cooperation with UVM Extension, in 2007 with a USDA SARE grant to build farmer knowledge in plant breeding. The goal of this on-farm breeding trial is to develop spring wheat varieties that are suited for organic management in Vermont soils and climatic conditions. Most commercially available varieties are developed in regions with climates, soils and management techniques that are very different from our own. In addition, those varieties are genetically homogenous and inbred for uniformity. This has often led to rapid breakdown of genetic resistance to local diseases. To address this situation, farmers in Vermont have been gaining the technical skills needed to develop their own varieties by making wheat crosses and selections under organic management.
Vermont, University of Vermont
Darby, Heather; Blair, Katie; Cummings, Erica; Monahan, Susan; Post, Julian; and Ziegler, Sara, "Spring Wheat Crosses Trial" (2014). Northwest Crops & Soils Program. 178.