You are here


Organic wheat breedingWe propose to establish a forum to build local teams for on-farm conservation and breeding of wheat to increase genetic diversity, local adaptability and durable traits for climate resilience, disease resistances, quality, nutrition and flavor.

We are a SARE-funded project to foster Northeast organic wheat on-farm crop improvement, using wild wheat, landraces and modern cultivars, genepools and mixtures. We welcome cooperation to foster local teams, seed exchanges and share resources.

See: for more information.

Eli Rogosa


Hi Eli -- I've created a Wheat forum for ongoing discussions; you are also very welcome to add some information to our Wiki section to talk about your techniques and results and how others might approach wheat breeding in other areas.

So how far into your breeding & selection project are you? Have you had good results so far, and which methods have been most successful for you?

Out of curiosity last year, I bought a small bag of red winter wheat intended for sprouting from the organic grocery last year. I scattered it in the garden, and about a dozen plants produced seed. The amount of carbon they trapped into my soil was impressive, this year I'm reseeding from these heads and hope to do better.

Based on last year's results, I picked up a packet of Pima Club to introduce improved drought tolerance. Now, my neighbor informs me he's going to put the adjacent 20 acres into wheat. My concern is his commercial variety could easily overwhelm the Pima Club genetics I'm attempting to introduce. Suggestions?

Thanks in advance,


Hi Ray -

Wheat is typically self-pollinated, and although the pollen is wind-dispersed, it is highly unlikely that your neighbor's wheat will upset what you are trying to do. It is much more likely that your Pima Club will self, and you will have a seed mix of the two cultivars rather than a cross. Your best bet is to manually cross your two cultivars; the first generation (F1) will be hybrid and won't be too interesting, but by the second gen you should start to see segregants -- you can select for major traits (such as kernel color) early on, but they won't stabilize for quantitative traits like drought tolerance and HR until further along the inbreeding process.

I know it's a late reply, but good luck~!