Adapting wheat in Europe for climate change

Mikhail Semenov., P. Stratonovitch, Fahad Alghabari, Michael Gooding

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Increasing cereal yield is needed to meet the projected increased demand for world food supply of about 70% by 2050. Sirius, a process-based model for wheat, was used to estimate yield potential for wheat ideotypes optimized for future climatic projections (HadCM3 global climate model) for ten wheat growing areas of Europe. It was predicted that the detrimental effect of drought stress on yield would be decreased due to enhanced tailoring of phenology to future weather patterns, and due to genetic improvements in the response of photosynthesis and green leaf duration to water shortage. Yield advances could be made through extending maturation and thereby improve resource capture and partitioning. However the model predicted an increase in frequency of heat stress at meiosis and anthesis. Controlled environment experiments quantify the effects of heat and drought at booting and flowering on grain numbers and potential grain size. A current adaptation of wheat to areas of Europe with hotter and drier summers is a quicker maturation which helps to escape from excessive stress, but results in lower yields. To increase yield potential and to respond to climate change, increased tolerance to heat and drought stress should remain priorities for the genetic improvement of wheat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cereal Science
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2014


  • wheat ideotype
  • crop improvement
  • heat and drought tolerance
  • crop modelling
  • impact assessment
  • Sirius


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