UC Davis Looking at Climate Change Wheat Impacts

UC Davis Looking at Climate Change Wheat Impacts

Corryn La Rue
Corryn La Rue
The University of California, Davis is spearheading a five-year, $15 million research project into the impact climate change may have on wheat, and accelerating the development of varieties that will respond better to increased heat, if needed.

Plant sciences professor, Jorge Dubcovsky says most of the wheat varieties that are grown in the U.S. are developed by universities.

"So this is to keep the modernization of the breeding program. We will have access to drone data, and we will have access to a centralized database to keep all the information there.”

The project is supported with USDA grant funding. Dubcovsky says since the climate is changing then the varieties already in existence may not adapt, and wheat quality will suffer.

"If you continue breeding and you can do it in a fast way, you can release varieties in four or five years instead of ten, fifteen years. So, you are adaptive to the climate as it is today.”

Several universities across the country will participate in the research work, including the University of Idaho, Washington State University and Montana State University.

In a February release, USDA’s drought monitor says about 70 percent of the United States is abnormally dry or in some state of drought.

Experts say March rains could change the tune of production for the year.

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