Renowed Wheat Breeder Erik Von Baer Talks Breeding Practices and Philosophy With OALP Class XIXThu, 27 Feb 2020 02:11:40 CST
The Von Baer's were plant breeders in Germany and made their way to Chile after War World II- and eventually established the seed breeding company Semillas Baer in 1956. Erik Von Baer continues with the company today as the Managing Director and lead Breeder of the company. Von Baer greeted Class XIX of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program to their company just east of Temuco in south Chile- and explained their efforts in helping spend up the breeding process in several varieties important to Chile and other South American companies by being able to product two crops a year with his winter nursey concept- grow one crop in the southern hemisphere- harvest the seed and then immediately ship the seed to the northern hemisphere and again plant and harvest- effectively halving the time it takes to develop a new variety in crops like wheat, durum wheat, oats, canola and lupine.
Erik Von Baer sat down in this office with Oklahoma Farm Report's Ron Hays after making his presentation to Class XIX of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program. He and Hays talked about the early days of the company- the breeding efforts for both wheat as well as lupine and then offered his views on GMO versus standard breeding. Clcik on the LISTEN BAR below to hear their complete conversation.
Von Baer says the most important crop for his company is wheat- both hard and soft wheat as well durums. The sales of hard and soft wheats he has developed over the years varies on the prices of the two types of wheat- he encourages producers to switch from one to another based on what the premium or discount is hard wheat versus soft wheat. The advantage with soft wheat, he says, is that if there is not enough of a price premium for hard wheat- he encourages his customers to plant and produce a soft wheat as it has greater yield potential. Von Baer says he believes in in direct contact with his wheat seed customers to get feedback of what they need in new seed varieties.
Von Baer says his newest varieties have the Clearfield gene from BASF, saying the ability to take out ryegrass is very beneficial.
Another crop that captures a lot of his attention is Lupine- saying there is a lot of interrest in Lupine but that it is a balancing act between having enough demand to justify farmers jumping in and growing the crop.
You can see our pictures from around Temuco and more from our Chile travels in the OALP to Chile Album on Flickr- available here.
The intertnational travel to Chile is the Capstone experience for the Class Nineteen Members of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, a two year program that was established in 1982- based on a public-private partnership of Oklahoma State Univerxity and groups and indivisuals invovlved in agriclture. Over 500 graduates of the program have made a difference in rural life and production agriclture locally and nationally,
To learn more about the program- and to find our how you or someone you know can apply to be a part of Class XX- click or tap here.
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