Study Debunks Myth that Modern Wheat Heavily Relies on Pesticides and Fertilizers
New research at The University of Queensland (UQ) debunks the myth that
modern wheat varieties are heavily reliant on pesticides and fertilizers.
According to Dr. Kai Voss-Fels of UQ's Queensland Alliance for Agriculture
and Food Innovation (QAAFI), modern wheat varieties have out-performed older
varieties in adjacent field trials under both optimum and harsh growing
In a large-scale study spanning five decades of wheat breeding, the
researchers compared 200 wheat varieties, essential to agriculture in
Western Europe over the past 50 years, under contrasting input levels of
fertilizers and pesticides. Dr. Voss-Fels and Dr. Ben Hayes developed a
method to match the performance differences with the different wheat
varieties' genetic make-up.
The study reveals that breeding for high performance not only enhances
cultivar performance under optimal production conditions but also in
production systems with reduced agrochemical inputs. New cultivars with
accumulated genetic variants confer favorable effects on key yield
parameters, disease resistance, nutrient use efficiency, photosynthetic
efficiency, and grain quality.