Monday, November 2, 2009: 4:20 PM
Convention Center, Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom BC,Third Floor
Projections suggest that demand for wheat will increase by 50% by 2030. Wheat yields have increased significantly over the last fifty years, primarily through the ‘Green Revolution’ which introduced novel concepts in terms of integrated crop management systems based upon the development of new crop ideotypes. The world has ‘kept pace’ with demands but the future challenge is daunting. Whilst the strategies for enhancing yield will be different what can be learnt from how much of the past potential was actually realised? The
UK provides an example of the rapid development of new cultivars in a commercial environment. Over the last twenty years there has been an acceleration of investment into wheat breeding. In addition agronomic support to growers has been high with the development of input schemes to enhance yield. Yet yield progress has now slowed reflecting a mature market. In addition regulation within the EEC threatens to reduce the impact of new products, both genetic and chemical to enhance yield. Environmental constraints have also impeded production targets by reducing the scope of growers to use fertilisers and water to enhance yield. This is the scenario that will face other less developed countries in the world. For the future a second ‘Green Revolution’ is required – based upon similar principles as the first – integrating crop ideotypes with targeted inputs. However the technologies available now must be used to optimise yields within a world conscious of demands from environmentalist but cognisant of the fact that failure would result in starvation for many. The breeding community has never been better placed to meet this challenge and examples will be given of opportunities in developing new physoiological models, broadening the genetic base, integrating marker assisted selection, the development of hybrid wheat as well as the opportunities that Genetic Modification could contribute.