Small Grains

Student in wheat field

Research Adviser: Allison Krill-Brown -

Student Lead: Saarah Kuzay -

Small Grains One-Pager

The breeding goal of the Small Grains team is to combine improved yield, weed competitiveness, lodging, and disease resistance with unique flavor profiles and quality characteristics. Current trials include heritage varieties, varieties no longer under Plant Variety Protection (ExPVP), high anthocyanin varieties, and advanced experimental lines from breeding programs of wheat, barley, and triticale, to be used as parents or released as varieties. Larger blocks of selected varieties were planted for quality, baking tests, and seed increase in field trials representative of low input dry farming systems, the primary farming method of organic wheat farmers in California. UC Amarillo is a hard, white wheat variety with yellow pigment that was tested in recent SCOPE trials and released in 2019 from the wheat breeding program. The Small Grains team is currently advancing several lines of blue and charcoal wheats, and conducting on-farm trials of ExPVP lines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to conducting grain quality and bake tests with the California Wheat Commission, students have been conducting at-home bake tests, such as a tortilla test of 5 different commercially available varieties.

In 2018 and 2020, the Small Grains team planted trials at Russell Ranch Sustainable Agricultural Institute. This location is representative of low input dry farming systems that are the primary farming method of organic wheat farmers in California. The UC Davis Student Farm has much higher fertility soil and is representative of using grains as a rotational crop on a vegetable farm.

bread loaves