Plant breeding is the science of hybridizing plants with the goal of producing improved crop varieties that have unique and superior traits such as disease resistance, and improved agronomic performance and end-use quality.
“Plant breeding to develop improved varieties can be accomplished many ways, including crossing two parental lines and selecting progeny with desirable traits,” says Rich Horsley, a professor and head of the Plant Sciences Department. “This method of plant breeding does not require genetic transformation.”
Developing a new plant variety through traditional breeding takes a decade or more from the initial cross to the time of variety release when it becomes available for farmers to grow.
The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station released seven new crop varieties in 2020:
- ND Crown, a Kabuli type chickpea, has high yield potential. It is ideal for whole seed and processed markets because of its larger seed.
- ND Dawn, a large yellow field pea, has high yield potential. Its uniform, round seed makes it stand out from other varieties.
- ND Dickey is a conventional (non-GMO) soybean with high yield potential. It also has resistance to Race 3 of phytophthora root rot.
- ND Frohberg, a hard red spring wheat, has good yield potential, strong end-use quality and very good disease resistance. It also has good straw strength.
- ND Heart is a conventional oat with exceptionally high groat betaglucan and protein concentration. These qualities should allow for the production of specialty oat products with unique beneficial nutritional characteristics.
- ND Noreen, a hard red winter wheat, is intended to replace Jerry. ND Noreen has higher yield potential than Jerry, with similar winter hardiness, height, maturity and quality.
- ND Twilight, a black bean, has higher seed yield, compared with other black bean cultivars commonly grown in the region. It also is resistant to rust.