Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stem Rust-Resistant Wheat Landraces Identified

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have identified a number of stem rust-resistant wheat varieties and are retesting them to verify their resistance. Stem rust occurs worldwide wherever wheat is grown. Over a large area, losses from stem rust can be severe, ranging from 50 to 70 percent, and individual fields can be destroyed.

Agricultural Research Service plant pathologist Mike Bonman at the agency's Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen, Idaho, and his colleagues screened more than 3,000 wheat landraces from the National Small Grains Collection against new races of the stem rust pathogen found in wheat fields in Kenya. Landraces with confirmed resistance are being crossed with susceptible wheat to determine the genetic basis of the resistance.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Field trials in Kenya to screen for resistance are vital to this work, according to Bonman, who worked at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for 9 years before coming to ARS. He is now working collaboratively with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) near Mexico City, and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).

Excellent procedures have been developed by CIMMYT and KARI personnel to promote rust disease in the nursery, enabling Bonman to evaluate which ARS accessions are resistant to rust. According to Bonman, CIMMYT facilitates the nursery and site logistics, and ARS helps with evaluating the level of rust development in wheat varieties.

The research team's goal is to find new genes for resistance to a rust strain called Ug99, because that strain has the capacity to overcome many of the resistance genes that have been used for the past 50 years. This work will help Africa's growers now and will help suppress disease and reduce damage in developing countries. It also will prepare the United States for Ug99 if the disease arrives here, according to Bonman.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crowd favors dock expansion

Idaho Wheat Commissioner Bill Flory made the Lewiston Tribune with his comments made at the hearing this past Wednesday (10/19) hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the proposed dock expansion project at the Port of Lewiston.

IGPA V.P. “Genesee” Joe Anderson also made public statements in support of the Port.

Crowd favors dock expansion By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Lewiston Tribune

Businesses and groups supporting a dock expansion at the Port of Lewiston dominated a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public hearing on the project.Representatives of Clearwater Paper, Avista and six farming organizations were among those who said they favored the project Wednesday during the meeting at Sacajawea Junior High in Lewiston.

About 20 of those speaking wanted the Port of Lewiston to proceed with plans to lengthen its 125-foot container dock by 150 feet. Roughly 10 were against it. The upgrade can't be done without a permit from the corps because the arm of the federal government has jurisdiction for any work in navigable waters of the U.S.One of the decisions the corps will make, likely by December, is whether it will require an environmental impact statement, a detailed analysis that would look at alternatives to the project.

People on both sides of the issue made arguments their stance was the best for the environment. Backers noted barging creates less air pollution than trains or trucks and reduces traffic congestion by reducing the number of semis on the road.

They also talked about the economic benefits of the port. Northern Idaho growers save anywhere from $1.6 million to $8 million a year barging wheat to Portland compared with the costs of rail, said Bill Flory, a Winchester farmer who serves on the Idaho Wheat Commission. That money gets spent in local communities, Flory said. "We need a port with a complete product mix of services."

Opponents asked for an EIS, noting the dock would be constructed in a spot that has less than 15 feet of water.Concerns about sediment collection are so intense the corps is spending $13 million to study how to protect Lewiston from flooding as the levels rise, said Brett Haverstick of Friends of the Clearwater.

A corps official couldn't immediately confirm anything about the study.Opponents also argued the longer dock would turn the port into more of a destination for megaloads that take up two lanes of traffic on roadways.

"This proposed expansion is a boondoggle that should be regulated to the dust bin," Haverstick said.Jerry Myers of Lewiston said stopping the extension wouldn't prevent megaloads from arriving in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.

Some megaloads are going through the Port of Wilma, just west of Clarkston, Myers said.Myers also noted the Port of Lewiston has been in the megaload business almost from its beginning. Some of the first oversized loads arrived in Lewiston shortly after slackwater in the 1970s, Myers said. They were steam dryers for tissue machines at Clearwater Paper.

Monday, October 3, 2011


The Taiwan Flour Mills Association (TFMA) signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 62.5 million bushels (1.7 million metric tons) of U.S. wheat over two years between 2012 and 2013 in Boise, Idaho, September 30. The signing ceremony was held at the Idaho State Capitol Building with Lt. Governor Brad Little.

Click on the link to view the video: http://www.ktvb.com/news/business/Idaho-Taiwan-sign-multi-million-dollar-trade-deal-130865633.html