Virginia Small Grains Board Announces

2016-17 Funded Projects



The Virginia Small Grains Board recently met and approved $374,012.00 in funding for a total of 23 projects from across the Commonwealth that are aimed at improving the production, science, marketing, and public opinion of Virginia small grains. Projects such as these drive the innovation necessary to ensure America continues to have the most reliable and affordable food supply in the world. 


Below is a brief summary of the projects the Small Grains Board approved for FY 2016-17. At the end of this fiscal year, the funding recipients will provide the results and findings of their projects to the Small Grains Board for their review.


VSGB Approved Projects for FY 2016-17


The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom - Ms. Kelly Pious

The program will educate children on the production and utilization of small grains by providing sets of the "Agriculture in Virginia Maps."


On-Farm Small Grain Test Plots in Eastern Virginia - Dr. Keith Balderson

The program will assist Virginia small grain producers in developing management systems that produce maximum economic yields with minimal negative environmental effects through on-farm test plots. He will also conduct a tissue sampling program to monitor wheat and barley nutrition and determine possible nutrient deficiencies.


Herbicide Sensitivity, Herbicide Resistant Mouse-Ear Cress and Intercropping Wheat with Forage Radish - Dr. Michel Flessner

This project will assess wheat sensitivity to metribuzin, herbicide resistant mouse-ear cress, and the potential to intercrop wheat with forage radish.


Residual Herbicides for Season-Long Management of Italian Ryegrass - Dr. Charlie Cahoon

This research will evaluate residual options applied pre-plant, incorporated, and preemergence for control of Italian ryegrass control; determine the appropriate timing of Axial XL and Zidua/Anthem Flex tank mixtures for season long Italian ryegrass control; screen surveyed population of Italian ryegrass for herbicide-resistance; and determine the benefits of crop rotation, herbicides, and vertical tillage in managing this weed.


Small Grains Research Program Support - Mr. Bob Pitman

Provide support for small grain variety evaluation, and teach students how new small grain varieties make it to the open market.


Improving Efficiency of Cultivar Development Through Aerial Remote Selection - Dr. Maria Belota

This study will help to better understand if UAV-mounted cameras can be used more efficiently than hand-held instruments to differentiate between varieties and their response to reduced nitrogen rates.


Integrated Management of Scab & Foliar Diseases of Wheat - Dr. Hillary Mehl

This project will conduct field studies that will improve recommendations for control of scab and foliar diseases in wheat. Studies include: testing the utility of the Kansas State Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Model for assessing risk of scab and DON contamination in Virginia; compare timings of generic and premium fungicides for control of scab and foliar diseases as well as profitability; survey fungal pathogens of wheat and screen for isolates for sensitivity/resistance to different fungicide chemistries.


U.S. Wheat Associates: Foreign Market Development – Ms. Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann

Support their work to increase international demand for U.S. wheat by promoting the expansion of new markets and promoting the reliable supply, quality and value of U.S. wheat.


Accelerated Breeding for Scab Resistance in Soft Red Winter Wheat - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The overall goal is to accelerate development of adapted and commercially viable scab resistant small grain cultivars by identifying, incorporating and pyramiding diverse types of resistance into elite genotypes.


Improvement and Development of Barley for Use in Feed, Malt & Fuel - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The primary objective of this project is to develop high yielding, disease resistant barley varieties having high quality designed for specific end uses, thereby, making winter barley a more cost competitive crop in the Eastern United States.


Development of Specialty Wheat Varieties with High Value End-Use Properties - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The primary objective is to develop adapted and competitive specialty wheat varieties possessing high value traits that offer potential for new and expanded markets and greater profitability for wheat producers, end users and other stakeholders.


Characterization and Mapping Native Scab Resistance in Virginia Tech Barley Varieties - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The specific objectives of this project are to: Characterize, map, and validate genes associated with scab resistance in the Virginia Tech barley cultivars Eve and Nomini; and to identify tightly linked DNA markers associated with resistance in these cultivars that can be used in marker assisted breeding to pyramid and enhance overall scab resistance in SRW wheat.


Marker Assisted Breeding to Enhance Cultivar Development in Small Grains - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The primary objective is to streamline and accelerate the development of superior soft red winter wheat and hard red winter wheat varieties possessing specific traits of economic importance such as durable pest resistance and end-use quality by employing the technique of marker assisted selection.


Identification of Diagnostic DNA Markers for Genes Governing Quality Trains in Soft Red Winter Wheat to Aid in Breeding Cultivars Having Improved End-Use Quality - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The objective of this project is to identify molecular markers linked to novel genes QTL for specific or improved end-use qualities. This will facilitate the future development of cultivars with superior or specialized end-use qualities by Virginia Tech's Small Grains Breeding and Genetics Group, and will help better understand the complexity of end-use quality, which is influenced by genetics, plant health, and environmental factors.


Determination of Earlier Planting Date and Potential Cultuvars for Fall Planted Winter Wheat to Optimize the Soybean/Winter Wheat Double Crop Rotation for Increased Yields in Virginia - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The main objective of this study is to determine whether or not winter wheat in Virginia can be planted earlier than what is currently recommended, to increase double crop yields. This study also provides an opportunity to assess the genetic backgrounds of each cultivar, and whether or not genotypic data can predict a specific cultivar's likely success in an earlier planting date system.


Breeding Wheat for Improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The overall goals of the project are to assess phenotypic date in Virginia wheat germplasm pools to formalize selection tools and develop both breeding and mapping populations for the purpose of improving NUE and nitrogen uptake in Virginia soft red winter wheat breeding program.


Development of Doubled Haploid Wheat Lines to Accelerate Cultivar Development - Dr. C.A. Griffey

The primary objective is to accelerate development of superior winter wheat cultivars using doubled haploid breeding technology and to reduce the time from variety inception to cultivar availability to producers.


FY2016 Mycotoxin Testing Services for Virginia Wheat & Barley - Dr. David Schmale

The ultimate goals are to reduce mycotoxin contamination in Virginia wheat & barley and to provide growers in Virginia with new and improved varieties.


Detoxification of Mycotoxin in Virginia Wheat & Barley - Dr. David Schmale

This project is a final round of experiments to complete characterization of DON-detoxifying microbes and enzymes and analyze toxin breakdown products for their potential toxicity.


Virginia FFA Foundation - Mr. Brian Walsh

Provide funding for the Agronomy Career Development event, and Grain Production Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award.


Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Wheat: Time-Course Observation of Flag Leaf Physiology - Dr. Takeshi Fukao

The long term goal of this project is to dissect the complex mechanisms underlying NUE in soft red winter wheat and to apply and mechanistic understanding for the improvement of NUE while maintaining grain yield


Small Grains Extension Program, Variety Testing and Market Development - Dr. Wade Thomason

Implement a statewide extension program and small grain variety evaluation plots at Shenandoah Valley, Painter, Suffolk, Blackstone, Orange, Warsaw and Blacksburg agricultural research and extension centers. The research will provide information to Virginia producers about relative wheat and barley variety performance statewide including yield, maturity, disease resistance and standability.



Virginia Grain Producers Association - Market Infrastructure, Media, Information Technology, and Industry Promotion - Ms. Katie Hellebush

  • Work with consumers and customers to help develop market infrastructure to increase and promote the use of Virginia Grains
  • Utilize media to pro-actively present information to producers, consumers, the general public, and decision makers about the value of Virginia small grain production, as well as promote key industry news and events to media outlets.
  • Develop internal and external information resources to effectively communicate with producers, industry, decision makers and other key interest groups.
  • Continue efforts to provide a voice for Virginia grain producers and associated industries by affecting a positive change within organizations that have a direct impact on Virginia's grain industry

About the VSGB

The Virginia Small Grains Board (VSGB) manages and approves the allocation of small grain check-off funds to eligible programs throughout the state & nation on an annual basis. The funds the Board allocates are provided through a checkoff of one-half of one percent of the net selling price per bushel, collected by the buyer at the first point of sale and then remitted on a quarterly basis to the Virginia Department of Taxation. The check-off assessment is collected only on small grains that are sold by the producer.

The Small Grains Board members are gubernatorial appointees normally selected from nominations provided by organizations representing grain producers (such as VGPA). The Board consists of seven producer representatives, plus one seedsman, processor, country buyer, and exporter.


VA Small Grains Board:

Delores "Dee Dee" Darden, Chairwoman (Area V Producer)

Ray Keating (Exporter)

Lynn P. Gayle (Area I Producer)

Awaiting Appointment (Area II Producer)

James H. Hundley, III (Area III Producer)

Ellen M. Davis (Area IV Producer)

Michael B. Mayes (Area VI Producer)

Floyd S. Childress, III (Area VII Producer) (U.S. Wheat Representative)

David K. Hula (Seedsman)

G. David Black (Country Buyer)

James N. Elkins (Processor)

Phil Hickman, Program Director


For further information, please contact Phil Hickman, Program Director at 804-371-6157.