Climate warming will likely cause a series of harmful impacts on wheat production.
Climate warming will likely cause a series of harmful impacts on wheat production. For this reason, breeding new heat-tolerant wheat varieties to adapt to and mitigate future warming stresses is an important task for breeders.
Previous studies often relied on crop models and explored the effectiveness of certain breeding adaptations by using various cultivar assumptions. Most studies have shown a quite optimistic view of the breeding approach amid future climate stresses.
Instead of using the modeling approach and cultivar assumptions, however, an international research team looked at 92 wheat-breeding nursery sites in the USA and Canada over the period from 1961 to 2018, investigating empirical evidence regarding real-world wheat yield responses to historical climate change by variety.
High temperature (i.e., heat) is a significant climatic stressor for both winter and spring wheat yields in North America. Nevertheless, the study revealed that the impact of heat on new and old varieties differs between winter and spring wheat. For example, new winter wheat varieties are more resilient than old ones when exposed to the same degree of heat. In contrast, new spring wheat varieties are more sensitive, indicating that climate resilience has not improved in spring wheat and may have even declined.
Read More: Institute of Atmospheric Physics - Chinese Academy of Science
Ron DePauw in wheat breeding nursery experiments. (Photo Credit: Cam Barlow)