Before You Give a Mouse a Loaf of Bread on Bake and Take Day!

Posted March 26, 2015

Bake and Take Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Saturday in March. Help celebrate this year on March 28, 2015, by preparing gifts of freshly baked wheat foods with family, friends, neighbors and community members. Enjoy this parody of “If You Give a Mouse A Cookie” to commemorate all the hard work that goes into those shared tasty baked goods.

Before you give a mouse a loaf of bread, you will have to bake it first. So you will need a recipe like one of these from the National Festival of Breads!

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread

But, you cannot bake bread without flour. So, you will probably need to run to the store. Look for King Arthur Flour, sponsor of the National Festival of Breads.

That flour has to be milled before it can be placed on the shelf. That happens at the flour mill, like Stafford County Flour Mills or one of the other great flour mills here in Kansas.

Millers cannot grind without wheat. So, they will have to visit the elevator to find the right quality and protein for bread flour.

But, the elevator cannot provide the miller with that grain until local farmers deliver their wheat.  That means they have to wait until farmers are ready to sell – the timing or price needs to be just right.

Before the farmers can deliver grain to the elevator, they will have to harvest it. Follow along with the Kansas wheat harvest every year with All Aboard Harvest.

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread
However, before the farmers can harvest their grain, they will need to need to manage their fields all year long to provide vital soil nutrients and monitor diseases. Of course, Mother Nature will have to provide enough moisture and the right temperatures at just the right time. You can follow along with crop conditions reported by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread
That yield potential starts with good varieties. So, farmers will need to select quality varieties with disease resistance, yield potential and end use quality. Find out which varieties Kansas farmers planted last year here.

But, before farmers can choose a wheat variety, the wheat breeder – like K-State’s Allan Fritz and Guorong Zhang – will need to release them.

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread
To find the next wheat variety, the wheat breeder will need the latest technology to help them select only the very best lines like measuring near-infrared light, utilizing high throughput phenotyping and building a genomic selection model.

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread
Yet, the wheat breeder can save time and money if only the best genetic combinations are planted test plots and nurseries. That means wheat researchers will need to sequence the wheat line’s DNA and identify markers for specific traits – like what genes contribute to heat tolerance, virus resistance, maybe even celiac disease – and the best loaf of bread of course!

Kansas wheat, mouse, bread
And before the wheat breeder and the wheat researchers can conduct their work, they need input and support from Kansas wheat farmers through groups like Kansas Wheat, the Kansas Wheat Alliance and the Kansas Crop Improvement Association.

Thanks to all of that hard work, you can give that mouse a loaf of bread. Maybe he will even share. 

by Julia Debes