Research Roundup

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH

Avoid mixing chemicals to treat winter wheat
Matt McIntosh
Agrochemical cocktails can weaken winter wheat, according to a new research study. 

University of Guelph graduate student Melody De Jong and Drs. Francois Tardif and Peter Sikkema report problems occur when herbicide-fungicide mixtures are applied to winter wheat during low temperatures. 

Mixtures applied during both early frost point and booting stage cause visible stress to winter wheat, with the most damaging mixtures containing the fungicide Folicur. 

Despite damage caused by mixtures, though, yield is not affected. “The test plots were able to recover from early season damage by essentially growing out of their injuries,” says De Jong. However, growers should still exercise caution.

“Chemical mixtures may not affect overall yield on their own,” she says, “but combining them with other environmental factors could be hazardous. Farmers have to consider all possibilities before taking this kind of risk.”

This project has been funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario and by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Adaptation Programming and administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. •

New test helps determine wheat gluten protein quality
Joey Sabljic
Wheat flour’s quality and ability to be used in products such as baked goods, breads and pastas is determined by the amount and type of gluten proteins. But until now, there hadn’t been a way to accurately test wheat varieties for gluten quality before they entered later breeding generations. 

Dr. Koushik Seetharaman, working with Plant Agriculture Dr. Duane Falk and the Brabender GmbH and Co., is hoping to change that with a prototype gluten-testing instrument called the Gluten Peak Tester. 

The device functions as a high-speed mixer. Wheat flour samples are spun together with water, allowing the wheat’s chemical breakdown and gluten content to be separated and measured. 

Seetharaman says the results of this test will give wheat breeders information in the early stages of their breeding programs to select for and crossbreed lines that have superior gluten quality traits. 

“Wheat breeders will be able to produce and profit from wheat that’s of higher quality and greater value,” says Seetharaman. 

Funding for this project has been provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Grain Farmers of Ontario, Brabender GmbH., Dow AgroSciences and C&M Seeds Inc. also provided funding. •


Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research. For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.

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