Farm Progress

Urrea's dry-bean breeding focuses on plants that are multiple-disease resistant and have qualities relating to water efficiency, minimum tillage and upright architecture.

December 21, 2016

2 Min Read
INNOVATION AWARD: Carlos Urrea (right) is presented the Omtvedt Innovation Award by Ron Yoder, IANR interim vice chancellor at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Carlos Urrea, associate professor and dry-bean breeding specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, received the Omtvedt Innovation Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The award recognizes IANR faculty who demonstrate exceptional abilities and innovation. Urrea was recognized at an awards luncheon at Lincoln for his research and teaching activities.

Urrea's dry-bean breeding program selects plants that are resistant to multiple diseases and have desirable qualities related to water efficiency, minimum tillage and more upright architecture for direct harvesting. He has developed germplasm for black beans, great northern beans and cultivars, and chickpeas.

The Omtvedt Innovation Award is made possible by Leone and the late Neal Harlan in honor of Dr. Irv Omtvedt and his distinguished career at the University of Nebraska.

Urrea has been part of the center’s faculty since 2005. His breeding lines include not only the most common market classes grown in the Panhandle, Great Northern and pinto, but also small red, cranberry, yellow, light red kidney, black, and calima market classes.

Urrea collaborates with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Tropical Agricultural Research Station at Puerto Rico. He started a "shuttle breeding" program in collaboration with Tim Porch at the station. Urrea also collaborates with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

In recent years, Urrea's work has focused on developing bean varieties with tolerance to drought and heat. He has developed three great northern lines and a pinto line, which all have the potential for heat and drought tolerance along with multiple-disease resistance.

In 2008, Urrea's program released the great northern cultivar Coyne, which became commercially available in 2011, and within three years accounted for 25% to 30% of the total great northern acreage in Nebraska, the nation's leading producer. Several other breeding efforts are on the verge of producing new commercial cultivars.

Urrea works closely with the UNL Food Center on nutrient content. He also provides bean samples to the plant pathology department in Lincoln. At the national level, Urrea works extensively with plant breeders, plant pathologists, agronomists, nutritionists and others at a number of land-grant universities, as well as ARS. He is the coordinator of the Cooperative Dry Bean Nursery, a national trial of 22 breeding lines in at least 10 locations. He also carries out similar duties as coordinator of the Western Regional Bean Trials in in Colorado, Idaho, Washington and Nebraska.

Urrea also shares his knowledge of science, especially plant breeding. He speaks to Scottsbluff High School biology classes. In his native Colombia, he visits local schools, where he talks to science classes about DNA technology. He also works with students at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, some of whom have become summer workers or interns.

Source: UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center



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