As grain growers across Australia’s northern cropping belt are well aware, heat and drought events can occur at any stage during the cropping season and take a substantial toll on crop production and profitability.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) yield traits program manager Jorge Mayer said to ensure continued crop productivity gains, crop traits were needed to deal with various environmental stresses at every developmental stage of the crop.
This challenge is a key focus of the GRDC-supported Managed Environment Facilities (MEF) at Narrabri as well as Merredin and Yanco in Western Australia where scientists are working to validate water productivity traits and develop and apply new research methods.
Located at the I.A Watson Grains Research Centre, the Narrabri MEF represents a significant investment for GRDC’s northern region and provides researchers with the ability to make accurate, repeatable and relevant measurements of drought and heat response in wheat.
This improved assessment capability will ultimately help progress the rate of genetic advance and stress tolerance in Australia’s wheat crop and boost the industry’s production potential.
Dr Mayer said the MEFs were able to mimic moisture stress patterns typical of particular seasons and regions.
“Trait values generated from research at the MEFs will be provided to plant breeders, along with genotyping and phenotyping tools for incorporation of selected traits into new crop varieties,” Dr Mayer said.
More information about research conducted at the MEFs is available in a GRDC Ground Cover Managed Environment Facilities Supplement. The supplement was included in the September-October edition of the GRDC magazine Ground Cover and can be downloaded at www.grdc.com.au/GCS112.
Jorge Mayer, GRDC
02 6166 4500
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
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