CSU Wheat Research

CWAC supported the following programs at Colorado State University for fiscal year 2023-2024:


This was the 55th year of an ongoing, comprehensive project aimed at developing better wheat varieties for Colorado producers, led by Dr. Esten Mason. The project will focus on:

• Implementation of accelerated breeding procedures for line development (single seed descent, use of doubled haploids).
• Application of genomics-assisted breeding approaches (DNA marker-assisted selection and genomic selection).
• Milling and baking quality evaluation of variety trial samples and experimental lines from the breeding program.
• Introduction of genetic resistance to wheat stem sawfly (WSS) into hard red and hard white winter wheat germplasm.
• Introduction of genetic tolerance to imazamox (Beyond) herbicide and quizalofop (Aggressor) herbicide into hard red and hard white winter wheat germplasm.
• Validation and introgression of traits that contribute to enhanced productivity or promote identity-preserved marketing of hard white wheat.
• Maintenance and progression of gene-edited materials developed in Dr. Stephen Pearce’s former program that will have future utility


This project supports the existing wheat improvement program and provides farmers with unbiased and reliable variety recommendations for making better decisions. It provides partial support for a Research Associate to assist in the operation of wheat test plots and partial operating expenses for 13 dryland and 3 irrigated variety trials annually.
39th year of a continuing program under the leadership of Sally Jones-Diamond, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. 


This will support research on wheat stem sawfly (WSS), and other wheat pests of potential significance. This program will involve surveys to evaluate the WSS flight timing monitoring at Orchard/New Raymer, WSS stubble infestation survey across Colorado, solidness scoring and dissections of wheat stems of the wheat breeding program’s Elite trials and WSS trials, and assessment of insecticide treatments against
WSS. Additional research priorities include assessing WSS non-preference for certain hollow-stemmed varieties and CL Plus lines, impact of solidness on natural enemies, and developing high-throughput phenotyping to screen for WSS infestation. The funding will provide support for an entomology research associate and operating funds.
34th year of a continuing program for wheat entomology research under the leadership of Dr. Punya Nachappa, Department of Agricultural Biology.

WEED SCIENCE – $30,000

This will support weed science test plot research on jointed goatgrass, downy brome, feral rye and herbicide resistance weed management in winter wheat. These funds will enhance the existing wheat weed science research program for basic and applied research on existing and emerging annual and perennial weed problems and help support the basic science and gene-based documentation of herbicide tolerance traits to support commercialization. The funding will support a weed science graduate student and some operating funds.
10th year of a continuing program under the leadership of Dr. Todd Gaines, Department of Agricultural Biology.


This project will enhance the existing wheat weed science research program and help support the basic science to 1) characterize the tolerance mechanisms and the specific mutation(s) conferring tolerance; 2) investigate factors contributing to overall level of resistance (i.e. metabolism); 3) develop greenhouse screens to validate the level of resistance of new wheat varieties with tolerance traits. This project will also provide basic collaborative research support to the CSU Wheat Breeding Program as needed. The funding will support 6 months of a molecular weed science graduate student and some operating expenses
8th year of a continuing program under the leadership of Dr. Franck Dayan, Department of Agricultural Biology.


The funds will support the initiation of research and extension programming on critical wheat diseases including stripe rust and viruses vectored by the wheat curl mite, including Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus, Wheat Mosaic Virus and Triticum Mosaic Virus. The funding will support research to improve virus diagnostics, conduct deep sequencing to analyze virus populations collected in Colorado grower field samples, provide virus diagnostic services to growers, sequence complete genomes of 1-2 stripe rust isolates, and conduct disease assays to determine Colorado stripe rust environmental limitations. The funds will provide 50% FTE support for a research associate (Technician), supplies, sequencing, and greenhouse costs.
42nd year of a continuing program under the leadership of Dr. Robyn Roberts, Department of Agricultural Biology.


These funds will provide 1.8 months of salary support for the CSU Agronomy Foundation Seed (AFS) Program. The AFS Manager will work in the wheat breeding greenhouse for 1-2 weeks in both the fall and spring and will work with the breeding program personnel on maintenance and repair of wheat breeding program planters and combines.
17th year of a continuing program under the leadership of Laura Pottorff, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.