Selecting for Grain Quality Traits in a Breeding Program Using NIRS.
James Helm, Plant Breeder/Head of Research, 5613 - 54th Ave., Lacombe, AB T4L 1L6, Canada
The most limiting and expensive traits to select for in a grain-breeding program are quality traits; however, these are often the most economically important traits a breeder needs in a viable cultivar. Quality traits are often not simply inherited and/or have other physiological effects on the seed or the end product. Over the last 40 years I have looked at many different techniques to rapidly screen breeding populations for many different economic quality traits. Most techniques are too expensive or unreliable to screen large numbers of breeding lines. In the last 25 years I have found NIRS (Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy) is accurate and rapid as well as non-destructive, allowing the program to screen over 35,000 samples for up to 30 different characteristics in a 3-month period. This presentation will describe the malting, feed, food, and forage quality traits measured using NIRS in the barley breeding program at the Field Crop Development Centre, Lacombe Alberta and will discuss the methods used for calibration. NIRS calibrations for traits in wheat and triticale have also been developed.