CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Increased interest in double-cropping wheat and soybeans has increased the research opportunity for small grains specialist Jessica Rutkoski.

“I didn’t see any kind of winterkill either in our plots or farmers’ fields,” Rutkoski said. “I think if some people planted really late they might have had it but it came through the winter really well. Every year is always very exciting for me because I see the new lines coming through and every year its different, I really excited. I think the plots look really good this year in spite of some of the odd weather we’ve had in the spring.”

She expects more wheat acres planted in the fall, boosted by price prospects and government promotion.

“I think that is helping but the price of wheat being so high and issue of food security in general are causing people to be interested in wheat,” Rutkoski said. “With crop insurance being favorable for double-cropping, I think that also helps a lot, I think in the fall, acreage is going to be even higher than it has been.”

Her research is focused on eradication of head scab, and speeding up the breeding process.

“I have a range of project, I would say most of them are focused on how do we make breeding more efficient, faster gain, and scab is always a huge, scab resistance is always a big one for us,” Rutkoski said.

Stu: That is where you’ve put an awful lot of your emphasis on, and how are we coming on that?

“Our research is showing we are reducing DON or vomitoxin one part per million every ten years, genetically, just through breeding,” Rutkoski said.

The small grains field day is this morning at the Crop Sciences Farm on South First Street. That’s our report from the farm, I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA-3.