The cereals breeding and quantitative genetics lab conducts research and breeding to deliver improved varieties of oats, wheat, barley and other cereals to farmers in Wisconsin. Being able to increase yield in a sustainable manner, without compromising the environment is critically important. One of the best approaches to accomplish this objective is to breed for locally adapted, resilient cereal varieties. Our applied research focuses on the study of the most relevant traits in agriculture such as yield, grain quality, and diseases. We use state of the art breeding tools to release high performing, locally adapted varieties of oats, wheat, and barley to serve Midwest agricultural systems. These outputs from our research have a direct impact on Wisconsin farmers who can benefit from high yielding locally adapted varieties.
Oat varieties from our breeding program represent more than 85% of the market share of oat varieties grown in the state of Wisconsin (WCIA 2018). Oat research also benefits the Wisconsin agriculture by providing a suitable cereal to include in crop rotations that has a positive impact on cropping systems performance and the environment. Finally, the development and deployment of oat varieties with increased disease resistance decreases the chemical inputs needed for production, therefore improving the agroecosystem health.