Under the auspice of the project WNP00251, entitled “Breeding Barley for Imidazolinone Resistance and High Grain Lysine Content” we are committed to develop nutritionally enhanced and ecologically adapted high yielding barley cultivars for the State of Washington. Spring barley, which is one of the preferred rotational crops after winter wheat, has lost acreage throughout the US. Specifically, in the State of Washington observed decline in acreage was quite stark, from 500,000 acres planted in 1999 to 115,000 acres in 2014. A combination of biological, edaphoclimatic and agronomical factors are responsible for this decline, in particular susceptibility of barley to commonly used herbicides and prevailing races of foliar as well as rhizopathogens contribute to it. No natural resistance to imidazolinone (IMI) herbicides and major rhizopathogens of the dryland barley production exist in the extant germplasm. In addition, since, feed barley is the preferentially cultivated class of barley in the State of Washington we focused our efforts both on enhancement of grain feed quality and sustainability of barley production by respectively improving grain lysine content, and developing resistance to major rhizopathogens and tolerance to IMI herbicides.
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