Oklahoma Wheat Research Focused on Meeting Consumer DemandsFri, 27 May 2016 20:20:45 CDT
Oklahoma Wheat Commission Executive Director Mike Schulte says investing in research to meet today’s changing consumer demands is a priority for OWC and its members.
Schulte says at least 20 percent of the OWC’s annual budget helps fund the OSU Wheat Improvement Team, a public breeding program for variety development and improving milling and baking characteristics. On average, OSU is releasing a variety a year through the public breeding program.
Producing varieties that meet end-use qualities can make a difference in the world marketplace. U.S. Wheat Associates, a national organization funded by 19 state wheat commissions, is currently looking at different strategies to increase U.S. wheat’s market share.
Schulte says more than forty years ago, the U.S. held 75 to 80 percent of the global export market share. Today that number is closer to 35 percent.
“Other countries are raising wheat that weren’t raising wheat during that time in the 60s, so we have more competition from Russia and Australia,” he says. “But we also are seeing other parts of the world try to capitalize on the end-use qualities, and so as we move forward, I think that you’re going to see more coming out of breeding program trying to capitalize on those efforts of what the millers and bakers actually want.”
Schulte points to a new variety of hard white wheat - Stardust - as an example. He says Stardust not only meets domestic market demands, but also appeals to Mexico, Central America and South America.
“Part of it is because it makes a more palatable product; it has a less bitter taste; there are things that can be done with it on the functionality end that give it longer shelf life,” he says. “As well as things can be done with tortillas and pasta making that necessarily can’t be done with the hard red winter wheat.”
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Schulte talk more about Oklahoma wheat research.
Schulte will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for the weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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