New Colorado State University Wheat Variety named in honor of former Southeast Colorado Agronomist and Champion of Agricultural Research, Edward “Ed” Langin
By Kelly Roesch, SEA Extension Agronomist
Colorado State University wheat breeder Dr. Scott Haley and his team develop wheat varieties with two main objectives in mind: 1) yield and yield stability, which includes stress tolerance, agronomics and disease and insect resistance; and 2) end-use quality, or more specifically, milling, dough mixing and bread baking. Since 1973, the CSU wheat breeding program has released 39 new wheat varieties with the 2016 release of PlainsGold® Langin being the 39th.
Langin is an early maturing semi-dwarf hard red winter wheat. It was developed from a cross between a CSU unreleased variety CO050270 and Byrd. While in the testing phase, Langin had higher dryland yields relative to Byrd, Colorado’s most popular wheat variety in 2015 and 2016. Langin has good winter hardiness, drought stress tolerance and test weight. It has moderate resistance to stripe rust, significantly better than Byrd, Avery and Denali. Like its parent Byrd, Langin is resistant to prevalent biotypes of the wheat curl mite, which is the vector of wheat streak mosaic and other viruses. Langin also has resistance to the wheat soil-borne mosaic virus, wheat spindle streak mosaic virus complex. Good milling and baking qualities complete Langin’s list of superior traits.
Ed Langin, his wife Pat, and their four children moved to Walsh, CO in April 1967 to begin Ed’s career as the Assistant Agronomist at the Southeastern Colorado Branch Experiment Station in Springfield. Ed was responsible for the irrigation project at Walsh and, while serving in this capacity, research projects were expanded to include variety testing, irrigation scheduling and fertility testing. Ed continued in this capacity as the Agronomist-in-Charge until 1970 when he left the Springfield station to become Superintendent of the Colorado State University Northern Colorado Research-Demonstration Center in Greeley. Ed returned to his former position at the renamed Southeastern Colorado Research Center-Springfield a year later.
In March 1973, a push by local growers to have a farm-scale research facility and a projected cut in State appropriations for CSU research combined to give birth to the idea of a locally supported research foundation. Ed invited several local growers to a meeting at the Colorado State Bank in Walsh to explore the idea. The group collectively decided that a research foundation was feasible. The effort to form the foundation was given a significant boost in August 1973 when an anonymous donor (later identified as Bernard Neill) pledged $10,000 in matching funds. Following a series of meetings, Colorado State University Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Donal Johnson, officially sanctioned the Plainsman Agri-Search Foundation on March 22, 1974 and authorized Ed Langin as the Foundation’s first manager.
Ed led the Foundation’s research efforts, initially utilizing leased land, and then spearheading the Foundation’s effort to purchase 480 acres in 1981. Two additional 160 acre parcels of adjoining land were purchased in the late 1990’s, giving the foundation a total of 800 acres that constitute the present research center located north of Walsh, Colorado, renamed the Plainsman Research Center in 1990.
In July 1987 Ed was named the Southeast Area Cooperative Extension and Research Director at Lamar, while still retaining his position as Superintendent of the Plainsman Research Center in Walsh. Ed made the 60 mile journey from Lamar to Walsh until Kevin Larson was hired as Superintendent of the Research Center in 1998. Ed worked as the Southeast Area Director until his retirement from Extension. After his retirement, Ed enjoyed spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren and worked as crop insurance adjuster until his death in 2006.
“Following Ed’s passing in 2006, I recall Kevin Larson (current Plainsman Research Center Superintendent) telling me what a great guy Ed was and what an impact he had made, so I told Kevin that I’d find a wheat variety someday to name after him. The variety does seem to have done well in Southeast Colorado where Ed lived and worked. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Ed Langin, from wheat producers and CSU people alike, so I’m really glad that we have been able to honor him like this,” stated Dr. Scott Haley.
Foundation seed of the new variety Langin was released to seed producers in August 2016. Under an agreement established with the release of the variety ‘Halt’ in 1994, Langin has been transferred to the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) for marketing under the PlainsGold® brand. As with other such varieties, a small royalty from the sale of certified seed is collected by seed growers which is returned to CSU to support additional wheat breeding and wheat-related research activities. Since CWRF’s inception in 1994, over $4.2 million in royalty funding has been returned to CSU from this program.
Written & Submitted to The BARN by:
Southeast Area Agent
Colorado State University Extension
1001 S. Main St.
Lamar, CO 81052
Phone: (719) 336 -7734
Cell: (719) 688 -0104