sealPurdue Agriculture Briefs

March 1999

Purdue releases five new wheat lines

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- After years of research, Purdue University released five new wheat lines this past summer. The new lines, some of which result from research that began 12 years ago, are Goldfield, INW 9811, INW 9812, INW 9853, and INW 9824.

"In addition to producing high yields and possessing good agronomic traits, these lines also have an advantage when it comes to resistance and low incidence of scab," Purdue agronomist Herb Ohm says.

Scab, a fungal disease, kills individual kernels as well as producing a toxin that, in high concentrations, makes the grain useless as food for people or animals.

Some of the new varieties combat scab with either low incidence or with partial resistance. Varieties with low incidence of scab have fewer kernels infected in the field. When a variety has partial resistance, it inhibits or slows disease development.

Some of the new lines also are resistant to glume blotch, another yield-stealing disease.

"These two diseases have become very important in the last 10 years or so with the adoption of reduced soil tillage," Ohm says.

Reduced tillage can foster disease because the fungi survive the winter living in untilled corn stalks and wheat stubble, then infect the next season's crop.

The INW 9811 also possesses the H13 gene, making it resistant to all known biotypes of the Hessian fly, an important insect pest of wheat in the eastern United States, including Indiana.

The early maturity of some of the new lines also can benefit Midwestern farmers who double-crop, or plant another crop immediately following the wheat harvest. Early wheat maturation gives double-croppers an advantage.

Ohm says the new varieties also have good resistance to soil-borne mosaic, an important viral disease carried in the soil, and all have ranked from good to excellent in soft wheat milling and baking qualities, making them ideal for use in pastries, cakes, and other confectionery items.

These new varieties will be available to producers this year.

CONTACT: Ohm, (765) 494-8072; e-mail,

Purdue hatches popular plans to egg on young scientists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- For many kids, the first taste of farming may come in the classroom. A 4-H Classroom Chicken Embryology program in Lake County that started as a pilot project in two school corporations a decade ago is now in every school corporation in that county -- public and private -- and reaches about 10,000 students each year.

"It took off like wildfire," says Corinne Powell, a Lake County youth educator in the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, who offers the program twice a year and trains teachers. "We're mainly an urban county, so many of our students don't have an opportunity to see live farm animals.

"It is our most popular 4-H classroom program, and it has opened doors for other 4-H programs in the schools." Teachers use the project to teach everything from life sciences to math, from reading to group cooperation.

For Mickey Latour, Purdue poultry specialist, visits to the classroom and thank-you letters from students are a big bonus. When Latour came to Purdue as Extension poultry specialist, his first thought was, "What can I do to serve the poultry production efforts in Indiana?"

One strategy was to formalize the loaning of incubators to schools into a curriculum-based program, which he christened "Incubators in the Classroom." During 1997-98 school year, incubators were placed in about 75 schools.

The incubators are delivered to classrooms for the last three days of the eggs' incubation. A story-line coloring book, teacher lesson plan and CD-ROM complete the curriculum.

Incubators in the Classroom has helped unite poultry promotion efforts throughout the state. The Indiana Turkey Marketing Council and the Indiana State Poultry Association have helped fund incubators (now up to 18), as well as curriculum materials and the CD-ROM, which Latour developed.

The first of its kind, the CD-ROM captures what happens inside the egg -- including a video clip of the embryo's beating heart -- before it hatches.

Latour's Web site is called The Chick Zone.

CONTACTS: Powell, (219) 755-3240; Latour, (765) 494-8011; e-mail,

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415; e-mail,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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