Extremely short, yet high yielding cultivars of all crop plants are needed to optimize the food production of bioregenerative life support systems in space. In the early 1980's, we examined over a thousand wheat genotypes from the world germplasm collection in search of genotypes with appropriate characteristics for food production in space. Here we report the results of 12 years of hybridization and selection for the perfect wheat cultivar. 'USU-Apogee' is a full-dwarf hard red spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar developed for high yields in controlled environments. USU-Apogee was developed by the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and released in April 1996. USU-Apogee is a shorter, higher yielding alternative to 'Yecora Rojo' and Veery-10, the short field genotypes previously selected for use in controlled environments. The yield advantage of USU-Apogee is 10 to 30% depending on environmental conditions. USU-Apogee (45-50 cm tall,depending on temperature) is 10 to 15 cm shorter than Yecora Rojo and 1 to 4 cm shorter than Veery-10. USU-Apogee was also selected for resistance to the calcium-induced leaf tip chlorosis that occurs in controlled-environments. Breeder seed of USU-Apogee will be maintained by the Crop Physiology Laboratory in the Plants, Soils, and Biometeorology Dept. at Utah State University and seed is available for testing on request.
Bugbee, Bruce and Koerner, G., "Yield Comparisons and Unique Characteristics of the Dwarf Wheat Cultivar 'USU-Apogee'" (1999). Dwarf Crops. Paper 10.