Plant breeding is key for future

Plant breeding will be the biggest single factor in meeting demands for a doubling of food production in the next 40 years, say experts.

In the 35 years following the end of World War Two, about half the winter wheat yield gain was attributed to plant breeding - not better machines, agronomy or inputs.

The National Institute for Agricultural Botany added that, since the 1980s, the contribution of plant breeding to yield gain had shot up to more than 90 per cent. Research director Professor Andy Greenland said: "Crop improvement through plant breeding will be the major contributor to increased food production for the indefinite future."

He called for funding changes because income for commercial breeding through royalties on seeds was not enough to support more speculative, long-term research.

"There is a hiatus in the research pipeline. Much basic plant-science work is taking place on model crop species without being transferred to potentially useful crops."

The institute is contributing to a major food-crop production inquiry by the Royal Society.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, in contrast to other farming sectors, according to a new report by levy body AHDB with Agra CEAS Consulting.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

One area affected by the uncertainty around Brexit will be the ongoing development of agricultural technology, seen by many as essential to retain Britain's productivity and competitiveness in fresh produce along with other farming sectors.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon