Wheat response to drought and heat - Using crop modelling to prepare for the future


While extreme temperature and frequent drought severely affect wheat production, predictions of climate change forecast increased rainfall variability and increased occurrence of high temperature events. Here, we propose modelling tools to predict and prepare for the impact of future climates. First, a modelling approach has been developed to characterise the water stress environment that crops experience accounting for the feedbacks of plants on their local environment. Such environment characterisation has been used to (1) determine the nature and frequency of the main drought patterns experienced by Australian wheat using long-term climate records (past and projected ??), (2) establish how breeding trials related to these environment types, (3) forecast which environment types crops are likely to experience in the future, and (4) manage drought in irrigation-controlled trials to best regenerate key environment types. Second, impacts of traits related to drought and heat are being assessed in silico using long-term climate records for representative locations. Results from detailed experiments and improved models are being integrated to identify traits and trait combinations with potential impact in current and future climates. This work illustrates how crop modelling can help navigate through the multitude of genotype x environment x management combinations and assist breeders preparing for the future.

Wheat Breeding Assembly
Bangyou Zheng
Bangyou Zheng
Data Scientist / Digital Agronomist

a research scientist of digital agriculture at the CSIRO.