Date of Award:

1924

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Abstract

Two methods of crop improvement are open to the plant breeder. Pure-line selection, which might be mentioned first, deals with the natural variability in plant populations. Thru selection, isolation, and comparative yield tests superior individuals are located. Nothing, however, can be added which the plant does not already have. Here hybridization provides a new starting point. Increased variation, new combination of characters, and thus greater opportunities are provided for improvement. The present investigation has for its purpose a study of the latter phase of this subject.

In certain parts of Utah the straw from dry-land wheat is used for feeding of cattle and horses. Turkey, the chief variety grown, is bearded in character. Some stockmen claim that the beards are not a disadvantage in feeding, but the majority of feeders favor straw free from this disagreeable feature. Heading and threshing outfits also make considerable complaint when handling Turkey. In fact, certain outfits have experienced difficulty in keeping men on Turkey jobs if any other work could be obtained. Yet, in spite of this fact, Turkey continues to be the predominating variety because of better quality which is reflected in the prices, and in addition higher-yielding power. So in contemplation of this situation it was deemed advisable to attempt crossing Turkey and others of the Crimean group with other winter wheats somewhat lower in quality and yielding power, yet having the desirable character of beardlessness. The bearded wheats, Turkey, Armavir, Beloglina, and Kharkov, were selected for the qualities of high yield, good milling, and drought resistance. Kofod and Gold Coin were chosen for the character of beardlessness. The aim in making the crosses was to determine the possibility of combining the desirable characters of these wheat types in single individual plants. While detailed genetic data were taken of the F1 and F2 plants, this work was only incidental to the main reason given for the crossing, except as it was of value in predicting and interpreting results.

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