Wheat Quality Council EVP Dave Green Offers His Perspective of Wheat Industry's Focus on QualityFri, 14 Dec 2018 11:11:09 CST
Dave Green is Executive Vice President of the Wheat Quality Council, an organization established in the 1950s with a mission to identify the needs of end-users of wheat and work within the industry to develop better, higher-quality wheat varieties that would meet those needs. Green visited Oklahoma recently during an event hosted by Plains Grains, Inc. where he had the chance to speak with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the organization, where the Hard Red Wheat industry is right now and where it may be going. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Green says that since the Wheat Quality Council was established, millers and bakers have in one form or another taken an active role in the industry - working with grower groups, state and private plant breeders and university researchers and developers to make sure that the quality component is always a main consideration when new varieties are being bred. Green talked about the importance of making quality a priority.
“We first want the farmers to have high-yielding varieties,” he said, “but we know that there is an ultimate customer for the wheat who is going to want some quality characteristics.”
Admittedly, Green confesses that while the actual work of the Council is somewhat obscure in the larger sense - the organization is actually quite well-known for its annual wheat tours, which he says have evolved from their original purpose of simply bringing millers and bakers out to see where wheat is grown and to talk about the different varieties being developed.
“That started to change in the 70s when the Russians started buying grain. We went from government control over the wheat stocks and the price of wheat never changing to now all of a sudden - it was all supply and demand and there was interest in when this crop is going to get harvested and how much are we going to have to sell,” he said. “So, our wheat tour kind of adjusted to try to be a little more scientific. We became a little more careful in what we were saying and we got a lot more people on the tours.”
Essentially, Green says the Council works with millers and bakers to allow them the opportunity to test and evaluate for themselves the different varieties that make their way through the pipeline. After this portion of the process, the Council compares its findings with other wheat quality laboratories that help align the industry’s focus and creates a better understanding of what end-users need from the wheat varieties in development.
“We challenge people to use the Wheat Quality Council as a yardstick for all of these other laboratories that are doing wheat quality work downstream from us,” he said. “We know there’s a lot of components that go into these and it’s nice to get to compare with the millers and the bakers, to make sure that their settings are correct - that they are looking at wheat quality the same as a miller would look at it.”
According to Green, this year’s crop was actually quite good, rebounding from a couple years of high-yielding but lower quality crops. He says that moving forward, the Council hopes to continue to help improve wheat quality through the use of new genetic mapping technology and remains confident in the industry’s ability to do so.
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