Wheat delusion debunked

Wheat delusion debunked

The pervasive delusion that intensive breeding has made fashionable wheat cultivars weaker and extra depending on pesticides and fertilisers is debunked by a serious new research

This is Kai Voss-Fels at the wheat trial site. Credit: Kai Voss-Fels

That is Kai Voss-Fels on the wheat trial web site. Credit score: Kai Voss-Fels

The parable that fashionable wheat varieties are extra closely reliant on pesticides and fertilisers is debunked by new analysis printed in Nature Crops at the moment.

Lead creator on the paper, Dr Kai Voss-Fels, a analysis fellow at The College of Queensland, stated fashionable wheat cropping varieties truly out-perform older varieties in each optimum and harsh rising circumstances.

“There’s a view that intensive choice and breeding which has produced the high-yielding wheat cultivars utilized in fashionable cropping programs has additionally made fashionable wheat much less resilient and extra depending on chemical substances to thrive,” stated Dr Voss-Fels.

“Nevertheless, the information unequivocally exhibits that fashionable wheat varieties out-perform older varieties, even below circumstances of diminished quantities of fertilisers, fungicides and water,” he stated.

“We additionally discovered that genetic range inside the often-criticised fashionable wheat gene pool is wealthy sufficient to generate an extra 23 per cent improve in yields.”

Dr Voss-Fels stated the findings would possibly shock some farmers and environmentalists.

“Fairly a number of folks might be shocked by simply how robust fashionable wheat varieties proved to be, even in harsh rising circumstances, akin to drought, and utilizing much less chemical inputs.”

Dr Voss-Fels stated the findings may have probably vital implications for elevating the productiveness of natural cropping programs. “It’s been extensively assumed that the older wheat cultivars are extra strong and resilient however it’s truly the trendy cultivars that carry out greatest in optimum and sub-optimum circumstances.”

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Wheat is the world’s most vital meals crop.

Nevertheless, with international wheat yields diminished as a result of droughts lately and extra local weather threat anticipated sooner or later, the hardiness of contemporary wheat varieties is a matter of worldwide significance.

The research is believed to supply essentially the most detailed description of the results of intensive breeding and genetic choice for prime grain yield and related traits in European wheat over the previous 50 years.

It was led by Professor Rod Snowdon of the Justus-Liebig-College Gießen (JLU), who can be an honorary Professor at UQ, in collaboration with seven different German universities.

The genetic evaluation was undertaken at QAAFI below the management of Professor Ben Hayes.

The primary a part of the research concerned testing 200 wheat varieties which have been important to agriculture in Western Europe prior to now 50 years.

Efficiency was in contrast between these varieties in side-by-side subject trials below excessive, medium and low chemical enter circumstances. The second a part of the research was undertaken at QAAFI, to match the efficiency variations with the completely different varieties’ genetic make-up.

“This genetic data permits us to take the invention to the following degree,” Dr Voss-Fels says.

“We are able to use synthetic intelligence (AI) algorithms to foretell the optimum crosses wanted to convey collectively essentially the most beneficial segments as quick as potential.”


The paper ‘Breeding improves wheat productiveness below contrasting agrochemical enter ranges’ was printed in Nature Crops 17 June 2019 (DOI: 10.1038/s41477-019-0445-5).

From EurekAlert!

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