December 5, 2012
Good grains: New wheat variety recognizes university's 150 years
Starting next year, farmers throughout the nation's breadbasket can plant a little Kansas State University purple pride.
A new Kansas State University-themed wheat variety will be introduced in February 2013 -- the month the university begins its sesquicentennial celebration. The variety is named 1863 in honor of the year Kansas State University opened as the nation's first operational land-grant university under the Morrill Act.
"While Kansas State University is known for areas beyond agriculture, having a commercial wheat variety named in celebration of the university is a neat connection to our heritage as a land-grant institution," said Megan Umscheid, university project coordinator for the president's office and coordinator for the sesquicentennial celebration. "It's a really unique way to remind people of our roots."
Daryl Strouts, president of the Kansas Wheat Alliance, approached Kansas State University about a university-themed wheat. The resulting 1863 wheat is a hard red winter wheat that has Overley, Karl 92 and Cutter as the parent varieties.
According to Strouts, 1863 is a good yielding variety and is competitive with other commercially available wheat varieties, especially in the northern half of Kansas where it is best adapted.
"The attribute we are really talking about for this variety is its quality," Strouts said. "Farmers will like it for its yield. Millers and bakers will like it for its functional quality as it is better than most of the other popular varieties being grown right now."
In addition to the 1863 name, a 4-inch by 4-inch waterproof sticker with the 150th image for Kansas State University will be included for planters to post on their field signage.
"When people drive by these fields on the highway they'll see that little touch of Kansas State University," Umscheid said.
The 1863 wheat will be commercially available for purchase from the Kansas Wheat Alliance licensed seed producers in fall 2013.
Kansas State University will begin its nine-month sesquicentennial celebration on Feb. 14, 2013. The celebration recognizes the university's 150 years of improving the knowledge and lives of Kansans and people around the world. More information is available at http://www.k-state.edu/150.