For the first time, the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC) has licensed a wheat variety in an effort to increase the return on investment of wheat grower dollars. UI Cookie, a soft white spring wheat with excellent yield, superior end-use quality, and easy threshing ability, was developed at the University of Idaho (UI) Research and Extension wheat breeding center in Aberdeen by Dr. Jianli Chen. The development of UI Cookie was funded through research dollars allocated by the Idaho Wheat Commission.
Approximately 30% of the IWC research budget is directed to breeding programs for variety development. IWC commissioners recognize that grower dollars have allowed wheat breeders to craft wheat varieties that are ideal for Idaho’s high desert growing environment and are eager to share UI Cookie with Idaho wheat producers. It is along that vein that IWC commissioners have extended a bridge between the investment of grower checkoff dollars and the return of putting that investment to practical use through the licensure of UI Cookie.
“Every year a huge portion of Idaho wheat tax dollars goes to support breeding programs. UI Cookie was developed using these tax dollars,” explains IWC commissioner Cory Kress, Rockland. “IWC took advantage of a unique circumstance to obtain the rights for UI Cookie and release it as a public release for farmers across the state without royalties or plant back restrictions.”
UI Cookie has boasted exceptional yields in trial, comparable to yields of UI Stone, and has topped the yields of cereal grains in Idaho for the past two years. In addition to high yields, UI Cookie has improved stripe rust resistance and good Fusarium head blight tolerance. UI Cookie stands out with exceptional end-use quality particularly, as the name suggests, in cookies.
While IWC is not in the business of seed production, as part of the mission of the Commission, our interest lies in getting UI Cookie into the hands of Idaho wheat growers who can benefit from its quality genetics. IWC has negotiated an exclusive license with UI to commercialize UI Cookie, released by the UI wheat breeding program at Aberdeen in April 2020. IWC is managing the first seed expansion from foundation to registered seed through provisions in a sublicense with the seed producer and is working with several reliable partners with many years of experience throughout the state, taking foundation seed to registered seed. Idaho growers were invited to participate in a strip trial with UI Cookie and seeds were distributed through a material transfer agreement. UI Cookie is licensed under the Preferred Variety Protection Act (PVPA), but title V was not invoked, which allows growers to save enough seed back after harvest to plant on their own farm, and does not have an attached royalty.
“UI Cookie is a [soft white spring wheat] variety developed from grower funds and is being given back to the growers unrestricted,” said Kress.
Ask your area seed dealers for availability next year.