In addition to offering the opportunity to view extensive wheat variety trials, the field day will introduce a first in wheat breeding – a new variety released jointly by the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
The new soft white winter wheat will be named UI-WSU Huffman in honor of UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ alumnus Bradley Huffman, who suddenly and tragically died last year at age 22. Bradley grew up near Cavendish on a family farm operated by his parents, Doug and Julie Huffman. He worked in the university wheat breeding program throughout his undergraduate training. During this time his contribution to the breeding program was significant, said UI plant breeder Jack Brown.
This new variety offers “high yields under dryland conditions, with excellent quality and good resistance to two important wheat diseases, Cephalosporium stripe and yellow stripe rust,” said Brown, who oversaw the variety’s later development and release.
UI-WSU Huffman is a joint release because it resulted from a cross between Bruneau, a cultivar developed by former UI wheat breeder Bob Zemetra, and a wheat breeding line developed at Washington State University.
The new variety will be licensed by and marketed exclusively by Limagrain Cereal Seeds. All of the seed royalties that would normally be allocated to the cultivar breeder and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will go to the Bradley Huffman Scholarship for Plant Breeding and Plant Sciences to commemorate Bradley Huffman’s life.
Brad was my nephew. He died just a little over a year ago.
In the “it’s a small world” category, Jack Brown, quoted above, has kids that went to school with mine. Almost 20 years ago he was also on the same bus as my ex-wife and I when we went on a multi-day field trip with the kids to Oregon to learn more about the Oregon Trail. He was Brad’s boss at the University of Idaho. It was his idea for the naming of the wheat and the scholarship in honor of Brad and he pushed it through the bureaucracy.