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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Growing Prosperity

Growing Prosperity

An average of 5.2 million acres of wheat is planted each year in Oklahoma and contributes approximately $1 billion annually to the state’s economy.

The image of waving wheat is as synonymous with Oklahoma as the state song suggests, though many take for granted the work that goes into making wheat the state’s prominent crop.

“Genetically improved cultivars developed by our OSU Wheat Improvement Team (WIT)have long been the lifeblood of this important aspect of Oklahoma life and culture,” said Dave Porter, head of the department of plant and soil sciences. “Wheat growers need varieties that provide good yield potential, drought resistance and disease resistance while delivering the milling and baking characteristics desired by national and international food industries.”

More than 40 percent of wheat varieties planted in the state were developed by the interdisciplinary group of WIT scientists, who in 2013 released a new hard red winter wheat variety: DoubleStop CL+.

“This variety signifies the first wave of two-gene Clearfield­­® advanced materials to cycle through our wheat improvement program,” said Brett Carver, holder of OSU’s wheat genetics chair, a WIT member for 25 years and its leader since 1998. “The variety is adapted to all of Oklahoma, though the area of greatest competitiveness will be in the northern half of the state.”

DoubleStop CL+ provides a favorable combination of yield potential, test weight and dough strength. Carver said the variety should appeal to producers who have enjoyed success with Centerfield, a previous WIT-developed Clearfield® release.

Only the third scientist to hold the position of wheat breeder at OSU since the 1940s, Carver said part of the staying power of those in the role is because each of them recognized the importance of the work undertaken.

“More than a major contributor to the state economy, wheat is and has long been vitally important in helping to alleviate hunger,” he said. “With a projected 9 billion people on earth by the year 2050, that capability is more important than ever. A billion people currently consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day. Wheat provides 21 percent of all food calories consumed in the world.”

-DS

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