MSU Wheat Wins Best in Show

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An MSU line of soft, white wheat earned the highest ratings of its class in the 2007 quality evaluation by the Soft Wheat Quality Council.

According to the Quality Evaluation Committee report, the wheat line (D8006W) scored higher than those of the other three institutions in the category because of its moderate resistance to viruses such as stripe rust and wheat spindle streak mosaic virus and its superior milling and baking properties. It was also praised for its low water absorption and gluten strength.

Soft wheats are used to make cookies, crackers, flatbreads and pastries, and are distinguished from hard wheats (used to make bread) by lower gluten content and lower resistance to water and mixing. There is a growing demand for white wheats within the industry, said MAES crop and soil sciences researcher and wheat breeder Janet Lewis.

“Industry is interested in having more white wheat available because of consumer interest in having high-fiber foods,” Lewis said. “There is a high concentration of wheat fiber in the wheat bran, and the bran of white wheat is more palatable—less bitter—to consumers than the bran of red wheat.

Two additional white wheats entered by MSU to be evaluated—Crystal (MSU line E0027) and Jewel (MSU line E1007W)—also received favorable marks from the judges.

“This wheat is not only good for the farmers because of its disease resistance and high yield,” said Randy Judd of the Michigan Crop Improvement Association, “but it also has the high quality the milling industry is looking for to meet its extensive standards. The Michigan Crop Improvement Association’s relationship with Michigan State certifies us to sell the breed,” Judd added, “and we’re very excited to market wheat of such quality.”

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