Collaborative Success Stories: For Wheat it’s Worth
University of Missouri wheat researcher Dr. Anne McKendry is collaborating with other scientists to fight crop disease.
One of the world’s top wheat breeders, McKendry has introduced 12 different varieties to market, specializing in soft red winter wheat. She delivers lines that meet a variety of characteristics including strong yield potential, good end-use quality, environmental adaptation and resistance to disease.
In particular, McKendry has tackled the devastating Fusarium fungus, also known as wheat scab, which reduces yield by up to 90 percent. In 1998, she joined fellow wheat breeders and researchers in 12 other states to form the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, part of an effort to address national and global food safety and security. McKendry’s scab-resistant wheat varieties reduce crop losses to as low as 5 percent.
McKendry has also developed wheat lines with “photoperiod insensitivity” which are adaptable to climates with long or short daylight hours. Her photoperiod-insensitive wheat has out-yielded other varieties as far north as New York state and as far south as Louisiana.
Dr. Anne McKendry is an associate professor in the Division of Plant Sciences within MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
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Food for the Future