News & Events

Central Plains Field Day in Wichita

LCS announces New Technologies

For the second straight year, Mother Nature did her best to disrupt our Central Plains field day. And for the second straight year – she just couldn’t get the job done. We ended up having the most successful event ever! However, the evening before the event, LCS staff were careful not to stray too far from a building with a basement. A massive storm system had moved up from Oklahoma bringing tornados with it, but fortunately none made their way through Wichita. Every year we always worry the field will be muddy, but this is the first time we’ve been concerned that the Trio Research Station might not be there when we arrived to set up in the morning.

We had a record attendance this year, and all were able to hear several special presenters share their area of expertise. Along with a nursery tour of the next generation of material coming out of Dr. Barnett’s program, including a look at 40 potential new HRWW lines, we introduced two new technologies that LCS is helping to bring to market in the near future. LCS has been collaborating on a new type of High Fiber wheat, as well as a new herbicide resistant wheat production system called CoAxium. Guests at the Wichita field day were among the first in the US to learn about these projects. We also had staff from Grain Craft who spoke on key quality parameters that milling companies and other end-users are looking for in today’s market. Our quality lab manager, Hayley Butler, presented alongside Tim Aschbrenner from Grain Craft, and answered questions about the increasing importance of wheat quality in the Central Plains.

As we like to do, we ended our field day with steak and craft beer. Using our new portfolio of malting barley varieties, which are tailored for craft brewing and malting operations, we continue to partner with the best brewers in the US to craft beers with LCS barley. Central Standard Brewing of Wichita hit a homerun again with their field day beer. The folks at CSB are brewing the best beer in Kansas right now, and the well-balanced, citrusy, floral IPA they brewed this year was exceptional. We also had two malting companies join us to educate our guests on the growing market for malting barley in the Central Plains. The Forty Six Grain Company in Oklahoma, and a new start-up operation just east of Wichita, Amber Waves Malting, completed the supply chain discussion on barley.

If you weren’t able to join us this year, we hope you’ll make it next year for our Central Plains field day.

Cheers -
Zach Gaines,
Technical & Marketing Manager

Zach visits Hartwick College in New York

In the past year, LCS has had an opportunity to begin building a relationship with the North American Craft Maltsters Guild (CMG) as an associate member of their organization. The CMG was created to promote and educate the general public about the tradition of craft malting in North America – while providing valuable resources to the emerging industry. It’s hard to believe, but just ten years ago, it was not possible to drink an “all local” pint of beer in the US. Today, there are beers on tap that have traveled less than five miles, from where the barley was planted in a field to where the beer is being served. Amazing!

Each year, the CMG hosts an event in collaboration with the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage, called the ‘Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend.’ I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 FBWW this February in Oneonta, NY. For two full days, more than 100 people in the industry, including farmers, maltsters, brewers, university educators, Brewers Association staff and seed company representatives discussed every aspect of these emerging craft supply chains. The craft brewing industry has always been characterized by a passion for quality and unselfish desire to see all succeed, and this spirit is very much alive, all the way down to the farm level - in large part because of the work the CMG is doing to connect and educate people.

The most exciting part of the FBWW was to see how this group has integrated regionally to create value and solve problems together. The idea that brewing companies are invested in learning more about the impact of barley field agronomics, or that farmers are learning how their crop management practices affect the amount of beer than can be made from their barley, is pretty exciting stuff. Events like the FBWW showcase why the words ‘Craft’ and ‘Quality’ are starting to become synonymous is this industry. And on a side note, there was never more than a four hour period that passed between samplings of grain to a glass of beer. You can’t really top that! I am pretty excited to continue being involved with the CMG and their Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend events in future years.

Cheers -
Zach Gaines,
Technical & Marketing Manager

Global Collaborations -

London's King Cross Train Station

For two weeks in January I left Wichita, KS to travel to France and England for meetings. I would be attending the Limagrain Worldwide Marker Meetings in Clermont-Ferrand, France and the Limagrain Wheat Breeder’s meeting the following week in Docking, England.

My journey would start in Wichita trying to escape a predicted apocalyptic ice storm the day I was originally scheduled to depart. The airline actually called me to reschedule my flights and was able to get me out of Wichita a day earlier and escape the ice storm that ironically never really happened. Oh well, it afforded me one more day in France. Three flights and one taxi ride later, I woke up in Clermont-Ferrand, France, the wonderful home of Limagrain. I spent the next week meeting and exchanging ideas with Brazilian corn breeders, French Sunflower breeders, German oilseed rape breeders, molecular biologists and biostatisticians. Breeding is a process and it takes teams of people all doing their best work to produce a breakthrough. Within Limagrain, the goal is always to improve crop varieties for farmers, from earth to life. I can’t share specifically what we talked about, but in general terms, we talk about methods, approaches to problems, processes, successes and yes, failures.

The next week I traveled from France to England. Two more flights, countless London Underground metro train switches, and a two hour train ride into the countryside and I found myself checking into the Duke’s Head Inn in foggy King’s Lynn, England. It’s a seaport city in the east about 100 miles north of London. From here over the next week, I would travel to the UK Wheat Breeding station in Docking, England for the annual Limagrain Wheat Breeder’s meeting.

Over the next few days specific problems in wheat breeding would be discussed and shared from breeders all over the world. Canada, USA, Argentina, France, England, Germany, Israel, Spain, and the Czech Republic all represented in a collective worldwide wheat breeding force.

Until next time -

Dr. Marla Barnett

HRW Wheat Breeder