September 29, 2009
A new high-yielding variety of hard white winter wheat developed by the Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station has been released to the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation for distribution to growers.
Named Snowmass, in honor of one of Colorado's 54 "14ers," mountains more than 14,000 feet in elevation), the new introduction has shown high yields in Colorado and overall disease resistance.
Snowmass demonstrates superior mixing and baking quality characteristics, and is accepted into the CWRF Ultragrain Premium Program with ConAgra Mills. It is only the second variety accepted as an Ultragrain. Thunder CL, released earlier this year, was the first.
This program will pay producers a premium of 30-cents per bushel over the market price for the 2010 crop, plus a protein premium of up to 40-cents per bushel based on protein content of the wheat.
"The flour made from this wheat will be whole grain, and used to make products with enhanced nutritional properties," says CSU wheat breeder Scott Haley. "ConAgra has very strict quality and agronomic standards for their Ultragrain product, and it was quite an honor for Snowmass to be accepted into their grower program."
Whole grain white bread has experienced a 14% increase in sales over the past year, while fresh bread and rolls is are down 2.5% for the same period.
CWRF President Randy Wilks says the premium program is a boost for producers and ConAgra: "It gives Colorado farmers an opportunity for increased revenue, and ConAgra a broader source of hard white wheat to draw from, with varieties that are superior in milling and baking qualities."
After several years of testing throughout Colorado, Haley says Snowmass has shown "exceptional" yields under dryland conditions. It also exhibits "excellent" disease resistance, he adds.
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