University of California

Small Grains Research

The University of California conducts various research programs and projects on grains. Their agriculture undergraduate and graduate programs promote research,management, and innovation in the field and in the lab. The Student Collaborative Organic Plant Breeding Education project at the UC Davis Student Farm, the UC Davis Dubcovsky Lab Wheat Breeding Program, and UC Cooperative Extension small grains research and extension all contribute to this legacy of agricultural innovation.

UCD Organic Grains

The SCOPE Project


The Student Collaborative Organic Plant Breeding Education (SCOPE) project is a student-led collaborative of faculty and student plant breeders working with local organic growers on improving crop varieties for organic farming systems in Northern California, with the possibility of future expansion to other regions. The organic plant breeding project was developed in direct response to California's organic growers, who have reported a scarcity of seeds for cultivars that meet the needs of organic farming. Using traditional, field-based plant breeding methods, new varieties of heirloom-like tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, pest resistant common bean, and lima bean are being developed on certified organic land at The Student Farm at UC Davis. The breeding objectives of these projects were selected based on input from local organic farmers as well as input from one of our collaborators, the Organic Seed Alliance. In addition to the breeding projects, the students participate in seminars focused around how to conduct outreach activities, organic farming methods, and project management, as well as participate in Field Days to showcase their work to a broader audience.

Active Learning

Public Outreach

Public Outreach

As part of the public outreach, the SCOPE research projects have not only been the topic of discussion, but also an engaging backdrop. Here a student in SCOPE presents his team's work in front of the lime bean field during SCOPE's field day.

Student Outreach

To engage current students at UC Davis, principal investigators (PIs) work with both undergrad and grad students on different aspects of plant breeding. Students from different backgrounds and levels attend various workshops.

Growers Outreach


At the bean field day, growers and those interested in bean research attended and learned more about the common and lima bean research happening at UC Davis, including the SCOPE projects that deal with breeding beans for organic conditions.

Collaborator Outreach


Several local farmers have been involved in the direction of SCOPE. Initially, a survey of local growers influenced the breeding objectives of both the tomato and peppers projects.

The SCOPE Project offers internship credits for undergraduate students. To join the project, contact Antonia Palkovic with a list of teams you would be interested in joining.

Downloadable Internship Approval Form

Malting Barley

From the UCANR Small Grains Program

California's craft brewing industry is continuing to expand its market presence in the state. However, only a small percentage of malting barley used in California is grown within its borders. The primary bottleneck in the supply is the lack of malting facilities. Currently California is malting roughly 900 tons annually, the majority of which is done by one malt house in Alameda, with some of the barley grown in northern California shipped out of state for malting. The industry has grown somewhat in the last few years with the addition of several small malting facilities. For comparative purposes, California produces 3.7 million barrels of craft beer annually, the equivalent of around 120,000 tons of barley. Resource:

Learn more about Malting Barley from Small Grains UCANR

Malting Barley Variety Selection

Malting barley is a viable crop for growers in many areas of California. Low water and fertilizer demand make it a sustainable option in many agronomic crop rotations. Market demand for malting barley can depend on a number of factors including: flavor, malting quality, or marketing potential. Various quality parameters may lead to crop rejection by the buyer. In particular, the acceptable range for protein is narrow (9-10.5%). Growers looking to plant malting barley should carefully review the agronomic and quality attributes associated with different varieties. Learn more here.

Malting Barley Nitrogen Management

Growing quality malting barley requires precise nitrogen (N) management due to specific grain quality requirements for malting (typically 9–10.5% protein for use in two-row all-malt craft brew). The timing and the rate of N fertilizer application are important management decisions, but their impacts on grain yield and protein vary with environmental conditions including soil type, climate, and cropping system management. There is a wide diversity of agroecosystems in which malting barley is grown in California ranging from upland, rainfed sites with lower relative yield potential, to lowland, irrigated sites with higher yield potential due to deeper, more fertile soils. Furthermore, the timing and amount of rain fall and heat can vary widely from year to year within a given location. Like many other small grains, barley can be planted in the fall (Sacramento Valley) or spring (Intermountain region),depending on the environment. Learn more here.

New Barley Variety

UC-Capay (formerly known as UC 1390)

This is to announce the release of the new barley variety ‘UC-Capay’ (formerly known as ‘UC 1390) and the availability of a limited amount of seed for allocation this Fall.

‘UC-Capay’, a two-rowed malting barley variety, was developed by breeders in the University of California, Davis barley breeding program.  The attached Summary of ‘UC-Capay’ was prepared by Dr. Isabel Alicia del Blanco, lead barley breeder at The University of California, Davis. 

‘UC-Capay’ is being made available to California barley growers who wish to produce certified seed for their own use in barley production. If you wish to produce certified seed, you will need to submit an “Application to Produce Certified Seed” directly to the CCIA using the online submission procedure at

If you are interested in producing seed of this variety in California, the first step is to request a license from UC Davis InnovationAccess.  To request a license, please contact me by phone at (530) 754-8674 or by email at  Seed of ‘UC-Capay’ cannot be released until licensing is completed.  If you want to receive seed for planting this Fall, you must complete this step promptly.

 If you will be requesting a license from UC Davis InnovationAccess, you should concurrently place an order for ‘UC-Capay’ seed with the Foundation Seed Program (FSP).  Orders need to be placed no later than November 20, 2020,preferably sooner, to participate in this year’s allocation.  All seed orders should be placed directly with Larry Frame to his mobile number at (530)219-1953 or by email to   As required by FSP, a completed and accepted Foundation Seed Advance Purchase Agreement with accompanying W9 form, will need to be on file with FSP prior to seed being released.  Once UC Davis InnovationAccess confirms licensing has been completed, you will be eligible to pick up your seed from FSP.  Technical questions regarding this variety should be directed to Dr. del Blanco at and questions relating to seed orders can be directed to Larry Frame.

UCD Wheat Breeding Program

Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis


Bread wheat varieties

Hard Red

UC-Central Red (PDF description) is a semi-dwarf Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat variety with a high-yield potential, resistance to lodging and diseases and excellent breadmaking quality. This variety is well adapted to the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Imperial Valleys. UC-Central Red is currently the top recommended HRS wheat variety of the UC Davis wheat breeding program, based on its higher yield, stronger straw and improved quality compared to Yurok. RECOMMENDED.

Yurok (PDF description) is a semi-dwarf Hard Red Spring wheat variety with high-yield potential. It is well adapted to the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys.  Yurok has high protein content and good breadmaking quality and is resistant to current races of stripe rust. It is the currently UCD recommended common red wheat variety.

Lassik (PDF description) is a Hard Red Spring wheat variety. Second highest average yields 2008-2010 in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys (CA yield data). Top yielding line in Washington 2011 HRS trials ( WA yield data) . Resistant to current races of stripe rust, and partial resistance to septoria tritici blotch and BYDV. Resistant to root-knot nematodes.

Hard White

Patwin-515HP (PDF description) is a semi-dwarf Hard White Spring (HWS) wheat variety well adapted to the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Imperial Valleys. It is very similar to Patwin-515 but it has better yield and the Grain Protein Content 1 gene that increases protein >10% over Patwin-515. Its higher protein content results in improved bread making quality. It has the resistance genes Yr5 and Yr15 that confer immunity to stripe rust. Patwin-515HP is the recommended hard white variety for the UC Davis wheat breeding program. RECOMMENDED FOR IRRIGATED LAND

Patwin-515 (PDF description). Hard White Spring. Similar to Patwin, but with additional stripe rust resistance genes Yr5 and Yr15 and improved resistance to BYDV. High-yielding variety in irrigated areas of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Imperial Valleys.  High protein variety with excellent breadmaking quality. It is the currently UCD recommended white wheat variety. RECOMMENDED FOR RAIN-FED ENVIRONMENTS

Patwin (PDF description). Hard White Spring. High-yielding variety in irrigated areas of the Sacramento, San Joaquin (1st highest yield 2008-2010), and Imperial Valleys.  Resistant to current races of stripe rust, septoria tritici blotch, and root knot nematodes. High protein variety with excellent breadmaking quality.

Clear White (PDF description). Hard White Spring. Excellent Asian Noodle & Breadmaking Quality.  Partial susceptibility to stripe rust. Not recommended in regions of stripe rust.

Pasta wheat varieties (Desert Durum®)

UC-Desert Gold (PDF description) is a Desert Durum ® variety with high-yield potential and excellent pasta quality. It is well adapted for the San Joaquin and Imperial valleys. UC-Desert Gold is very similar to Desert King but has two genes for improved yellow pigment in the pasta and one gene for reduced grain cadmium content (a beneficial human health trait). This is the UC Davis durum wheat recommended variety. RECOMMENDED

Desert King (PDF description). High-yield potential and high pasta quality. Recommended for the San Joaquin and Imperial valleys.

Desert King-High Protein  (PDF description). High-yield potential and high pasta quality. Recommended for the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Imperial valleys.

Tipai (PDF description). Recommended for the Imperial and Yuma Valleys

Miwok (PDF description). Low cadmium, excellent yield potential in Imperial and San Joaquin Valleys.

Malting barley varieties (two row)

Tahoe (PDF description). Recommended for the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys

Released Germplasm

Leaf rust Lr47

High grain protein and stripe rust

Resistant starch SBEIIa and SBEIIb combined

Early flowering

UC Small Grains Research

Small Grains in California

Small grains include wheat, barley, oats, and triticale. Wheat, oats, and barley are grown for grain and forage while triticale is primarily grown as forage. Wheat is the predominant small grain crop in California, where it is grown on over 500,000 acres. Although relatively low in value compared to many California crops, small grains serve as important rotation crops. In most regions of the state, small grains are grown from fall through spring, thus making good use of winter rainfall and requiring relatively little irrigation. More information about the Grain Regional Trials can be found in the UC ANR Small Grain site.

UC-IPM Pest Management Guidelines For Small Grains

Pest Management Guidelines: How to manage pests in California Small Grains

Integrated Weed Management: How to manage weeds in California Small Grains

Special Weed Problems: Information about Special Weed Problems in Small Grains

Small Grains: Nematodes: Management Guidelines for Nematodes on Small Grains