Millers, growers, breeders gather for wheat quality talks

by Matt Noltemeyer
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A group representing the entire wheat chain gathered to discuss wheat quality and industry issues.

KANSAS CITY — Icy conditions were no obstacle for a hearty group representing the entire wheat chain that gathered this week to discuss wheat quality and industry issues.

About 140 flour millers, grain merchants, wheat growers, plant breeders and bakers made their way through wintry weather to the Wheat Quality Council annual meeting Feb. 20-22 at Embassy Suites Kansas City International Airport.

At least 10 registered participants were unable to travel to the event due to weather, and others arrived well into the second day of the meeting, said Dave Green, executive vice-president of the Wheat Quality Council.

Dave Green, Wheat Quality Council
Dave Green, executive vice-president of the Wheat Quality Council

“That ice storm was bad (in Kansas City), and they had issues in Chicago and Denver and some groups just could not get here,” Mr. Green said.

That included speaker Dale Nellor of the North American Millers’ Association, scheduled to update the group about glyphosate, which is a controversial addition to California’s Proposition 65, which will require products with residue from the herbicide to carry warning statements beginning in July. Dave Katzke of General Mills presented Nellor’s update.

Separate meetings Wednesday morning covered hard winter wheat and hard spring wheat quality. Sid Perry, a wheat breeder with Monsanto, is chairman of the Wheat Quality Council’s Hard Winter Wheat Quality Council, and Mory Rugg, a wheat breeder with Bayer CropScience, is chairman of the Hard Spring Wheat Quality Council.

The morning meetings showcased quality testing and communication between parts of the wheat chain, Mr. Green said.

“We have good testing programs in place and good cooperation with the plant breeders to get access to elite varieties and get them tested,” Mr. Green said. “This morning was a way of resetting all of that for next year: What we’re going to do, what kind of a year we’ve had, and I think the program is on pretty sound footing.”  
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