October 10, 2007 | By: Laura Skillman

Members of the University of Kentucky Wheat Science Group were presented with the first CSREES Partnership Award for Mission Integration today in Washington, D.C.

This is one of four new awards presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to recognize outstanding contributions of their partners in the land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations.

The mission integration award is for implementation of a program or project which incorporates, in a meaningful way, full integration of research, education, and extension and exhibits an understanding of the complementary nature of these three functions.

“This honor reinforces our belief that, by all areas of the College of Agriculture working together, we can provide the most up-to-date information to our wheat producers, helping to further enhance their economic viability,” said Lloyd Murdock, group co-chair.

UK’s Wheat Science Group was established in 1997 and consists of 18 members from six departments within the College of Agriculture. The members have varying research, extension and instruction assignments. The group’s mission is to plan and implement coordinated wheat research and extension/educational functions. 

“There can be no greater testimony to the effectiveness of the wheat science program than receiving this national distinction,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research and director of the UK Agricultural Experiment Station. “The wheat science program is the best at linking research with the real world. It is especially gratifying that the beneficiaries of the program, the producers, provided strong support to the Secretary of USDA for this honor.”

Programs and activities are proactive when possible, but also are developed in response to specific production situations and needs. The group works closely with the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association, county agricultural extension agents, wheat consultants and agribusinesses to determine short and long range goals and to implement the group’s activities for maximum benefit of Kentucky’s wheat producers. 

No-tillage, ryegrass control, and head scab research and extension programs have been major thrusts of the program, but many other wheat topics have been addressed via coordinated research and extension programs, activities and publications.

The two greatest successes of this group have been increased yields and increased no-tillage acres. Wheat yields have increased from the 40-bushel per acre range in the mid-1980s to 71 bushels per acre in 2006. The 2006 yield is the highest ever produced by the state and the fifth highest in the United States.

No-till wheat acres have increased from 15 percent in 1990 to about 45 percent of today’s harvested acres. Also, soil quality has improved. This resulted in a four to five percent increase in yields of corn and soybean crops when planted following no-tilled wheat versus tilled wheat, as measured by on-farm trials.


Lloyd Murdock, 270-365-7541, ext. 207