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New tech to strengthen production of ‘climate resilient wheat’

The CGIAR Research Program on wheat has released the 2018 annual report on global effort to develop new wheat varieties.

The CGIAR Research Program on Wheat is a global alliance for productive, climate-resilient and profitable wheat agri-food systems in lower and middle-income countries.

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The report, which was released a few days ago, said wheat researchers were taking advantage of the most recent advances in remote sensing, genomics and bio-informatics to collect information about wheat traits at an “unprecedented level of detail and precision.”

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The technology helps the researchers determine traits such as plant development and architecture, radiation use efficiency, root length, photosynthesis and biomass productivity.

Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat, Mr. Hans Braun, in the report, stated that “collaboration and exchange have a global impact for wheat farmers and consumers.”

The 2018 report noted that “Digital and cutting edge tools such as spectroscopy, image analysis, robotics, drones and satellites are collecting this data on hundreds to thousands of plants each day.

“Known as phenotyping, this approach permits an enhanced understanding of a crops’ physiology to improve traits – such more vigorous root systems and improved photosynthesis and translocation of carbohydrates in the stem – that increase tolerance to heat and drought, and help to create plant types tailored to future climates.

According to the CGIAR report, the result of the collaborative approach was already shaping Pakistan, a major wheat producer struggling with increased heat and drought.

“Over the past six years, breeders from CGIAR and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council developed and released three widely adopted heat and drought-tolerant wheat lines – Kohat-17, Borlaug 2016 and Pakistan 2013. Pakistan-13, a drought and heat tolerant variety that is also resistant to yellow and leaf rust that is the biggest success story,” it says.

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