Submitted to: Inter Assoc for Cereal Science & Technology Jubilee Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/23/2004
Publication Date: 3/31/2005
Citation: Chung, O.K., Gaines, C.S., Morris, C.F., Hareland, G.A. 2005. Roles of the Four ARS Regional Wheat Quality Laboratories in U.S. Wheat Quality Improvement. Using Cereal Science and Technology for the Benefit of Consumers. Proceedings of the 12th International ICC Cereal and Bread Congress, 23-26th May 2004, Harrogate, UK. S. Cauvain, S. Salmon and L. Young, eds, Woodhead Publishing Limited and CRC Press LLC. Pages 34-38. Interpretive Summary: World wheat production over the last three years (1999-2002) has averaged 583.2 million metric tons (mmt), which constitutes one-third of the total world grain production. It is not only the major crop for human food, but also a global commodity, since 18.7% (108.75 mmt) of total world wheat produced enters the world trade market. As a major wheat-producing country, with an annual production of 58.9 mmt (10.1% of world production) and exports of 27.8 mmt (25.6% of total world export and 47.3% of the U.S. total production), the U.S. has active wheat breeding programs. The U.S. produces several classes of wheat which have different functional properties and end-uses. Current U.S. standards categorize wheat into eight basic classes, and nine subclasses based on colour, hardness, and growing season. These eight classes include; Durum (DU), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard Red Winter (HRW), Soft Red Winter (SRW), Hard White (HDWH), Soft White (SWH), Unclassed, and Mixed wheat. Each wheat class is grown in a specific region in the U.S. For the last three years, the U.S. produced 38.3% HRW, 23.0% HRS, 20.7% SRW, 13.3% White and 4.7% DU wheat. The average annual U.S. total wheat exports consist of 37.2% HRW, 24.3% HRS, 17.1% White, 16.6% SRW, and 4.8% DU wheat.
Technical Abstract: Wheat quality improvement begins with breeding. Important traits targeted in wheat breeding include both agronomic and end-use quality. The current U.S. Standards categorize wheat into eight basic classes based on color, hardness, and growing season. Each wheat class is traditionally grown in a specific region in the U.S. The USDA-ARS Regional Wehat Quality Laboratories (RWQLs) were established by an Act of Congress: the Soft Wheat Quality Lab in 1936, the Hard Winter Wheat Quality Lab in 1937, the Western Wheat Quality Lab in 1946, and the Hard Red Spring & Durum Wheat Quality Lab in 1963. All four RWQLs have common missions: work with breeders to improve U.S. wheat by testing end-use quality of experimental breeding lines, develop reliable small-scale tests for evaluating early generation breeding lines, perform research on the contribution of flour biochemical components to observed differences in end-use quality, conduct research on molecular-genetic bases of quality, and develop rapid and objective prediction models for end-use quality. All four RWQLs focus primarily on the public (university and USDA-ARS) breeding lines and some private breeding lines. Over 95% of U.S. wheat released cultivars have been evaluated at one of the RWQLs. Therefore, the RWQLs have made paramount contributions to U.S. wheat quality improvements for all wheat classes. This presentation will describe the activity of each RWQL.