3/14/14 - Winter Wheat Crossing Block at Lafayette, Indiana

Severe weather doesn't hamper crossing schedule!

The Limagrain Cereal Seeds winter wheat crossing programs have been all centralized in Lafayette for the first time this year – we have the most greenhouse space here - and it’s logistically easier to grow all the plants in one place. By doing this, we can economize on potting and planting resources. The other good thing about having all the programs here is that we get to entertain and interact with our friends and colleagues from across the US!

Early October, 2013 – In the few gaps between our numerous trips to plant the fields, we started to vernalize seed in order to make crosses over the winter. We let the seed germinate in petri dishes and then move the dishes into a fridge for around 7 weeks to provide the cold period (vernalization) needed to stimulate the young plants to reproduce.

Mid-November – The vernalized plants were all potted individually and transferred to our greenhouse – the preparation of the crossing blocks is nearly completed. These plants will start to flower in another 6 weeks – then the crossing can begin!

November 17, 2013 – Oh no, where’s our greenhouse roof gone! Severe storms and high winds struck Indiana on this date and our greenhouse didn’t escape the damage. As the cold weather was setting in, we had to quickly move our plants next door to safety.

We had a lot of help! Don’s family, and many of the FFR employees with whom we share the research station, came in to help salvage our plants. We had the entire greenhouse contents relocated within hours!

The amazing thing – after THOUSANDS of dollars’ worth of damage to the research station – we lost only 5 plants in the storm. Hardy stuff, that Limagrain winter wheat!

November 20, 2013 - On the first clear day with only light wind, we began repairing the greenhouse.

Mary Lou Corbin (above), who helps in the Lafayette research station year round, and Don Obert’s wife, Jacque (below), soon had the pots back into their original order as we prepared to move them back into the newly repaired greenhouse.

January 8, 2014 - Let the crossing begin! The early varieties from the Kansas program are the first to head and Research Assistant Dean Wilson, from the Wichita HRWW research station, was on hand to help with the Central Plains crossing block in the greenhouse. All the white bags are crosses that have been made.

January 10 – Dr. Marla Barnett, the HRW Wheat Breeder for the Central Plains region, also came to Lafayette to work on her crossing block.

January 13 - Brent Conrady, HRWW Research Assistant, also flew in from Kansas to help. That means the entire Wichita permanent staff had the chance to visit Lafayette

January 14 – The later varieties were now heading and Jeron Chatelain, Research Assistant from the Waitsburg, WA station, assisted with their Pacific Northwest crossing block.

Don Obert, Wheat Breeder in Lafayette, is shown here emasculating one of the final crosses in our SRWW crossing block.

January 30, 2014 – The crossing blocks are completed, so at last the Lafayette Research Station team enjoys a very nice – but belated - holiday dinner together!

It was a great educational and team building experience to host our colleagues from the other Limagrain breeding stations here in Indiana – and the Lafayette team is looking forward to heading west later in the year to see how our colleagues work in their own programs.