KS Bill Snyder wheat honors legendary football coach

Manhattan, KS (March 14, 2024) - Two new wheat varieties have been released from the Kansas State University wheat breeding program and are being licensed by Kansas Wheat Alliance seed associates for farmers to plant this fall.

Hard red winter (HRW) wheat KS Bill Snyder, named after the legendary football coach, will be available in limited supply this fall. The variety was developed with funding from Kansas wheat farmers and donors to the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation. KS Mako, also a hard red winter variety, has an excellent yield record, will make a splash in seed fields this summer and will be available to farmers this fall.

Coach Bill Snyder was honored at a luncheon on March 14 in Manhattan. Select wheat farmers, seed growers and industry professionals were in attendance to hear from K-State’s retired football coach. Marty Vanier, whose family was the lead donor of the Research Foundation’s Fields Forward Campaign, and former Senator Pat Roberts also provided remarks. Vanier listed Snyder’s 16 goals for success, and how each of these goals aligns with the wheat breeding program.

Roberts said, “This combines two of my favorite things in the world — Kansas agriculture and Coach Bill Snyder.” He continued, telling attendees that the naming of the wheat variety KS Bill Snyder brings a new level of excitement to a new generation of agriculture students. “Stakes are high in ag research,” he said. “We need a stable and affordable food system, and Kansas Wheat is rising to this challenge by honoring Bill Snyder.”

In his remarks, Coach Snyder talked about how he drove by the agricultural research plots every day on his drive from home to work.

“The people here are very special, and what you do is meaningful,” Snyder said. “When I came here in 1989, I learned that Kansas State people are truly special. They asked, ‘What can we do for you?’ That’s the Kansas State farmer way.”

Coach Snyder went on to say how humbled he is to be honored with the naming of a wheat variety.

KS Bill Snyder

KS Bill Snyder — the wheat variety — was the result of the long-running breeding program at the K-State Agricultural Research Center at Hays, led by Dr. Guorong Zhang, Kansas State University wheat breeder, and his team. The program focuses on the development of new and improved varieties of both HRW and hard white (HW) winter wheat for western Kansas.

KS Bill Snyder is a medium maturity and medium-short height variety that was #1 in the Southern Regional Performance Nursery (SPRN) in 2022. KS Bill Snyder has a solid disease package with good to intermediate resistance of stripe, leaf and stem rust, along with moderate resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus (Wsm2 gene) and intermediate resistance to Triticum mosaic virus. It is also resistant to soilborne mosaic virus, allowing it to move into central Kansas, where it has shown decent yield potential. KS Bill Snyder, along with its very high yield potential, also has good drought tolerance, high tillering capacity, excellent straw strength and good quality.

KS Mako

KS Mako is a high yielding wheat variety out of the K-State Manhattan breeding program. Developed by K-State wheat breeder Dr. Allan Fritz, it is medium maturity and medium height with Jagger and LCS Chrome in its pedigree. This variety has a yield performance similar to KS Providence and other top yielding varieties in the central Kansas corridor and has also performed well in western Kansas, with decent drought tolerance.

KS Mako has very good quality and above average protein at a given yield level. It carries the Wsm2 gene, giving it some of the best wheat streak mosaic virus resistance for a central Kansas adapted wheat variety. KS Mako is intermediate to moderately susceptible to leaf and stripe rust and susceptible to FHB. It will be a solid companion variety to KS Providence, with quality that should get it on preferred variety lists.

The K-State wheat breeding program is supported by the Kansas Wheat Commission, Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation and Kansas Wheat Alliance. With all these resources combined, the program continues its tradition of providing great wheat varieties designed specifically to meet the needs of Kansas wheat producers and their customers.

To find a seed associate near you with these new wheat varieties, visit kswheatalliance.org.


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