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Physiology to further improve rainfed winter wheat yields in Turkey

June 18, 2013

Psicology1In the light of the impact made by CIMMYT in physiological pre-breeding in spring wheat with drought, the Global Wheat Program in Turkey expanded their efforts to winter wheat. To support the work of the International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP) on the development of better adapted germplasm in Turkey, the CIMMYT-Turkey regional office was recently joined by wheat physiologist Marta Lópes. IWWIP focuses primarily on dealing with the consequences of climate change, such as terminal heat and increasingly common drought events, as winter wheat is particularly vulnerable to them. Furthermore, many areas in Central and Western Asia cultivate winter wheat without supplementary irrigation which requires breeding for rainfed conditions. The program realizes the importance of this issue and thus responded accordingly to the breeders in the region who contacted CIMMYT with a request for a training event on physiological tools available for selection. During 6 to 9 June 2013, a course was organized in Konya, Turkey, at the Bahri Dagdas International Agricultural Research Institute.

The course alternated theory with practical sessions and focused on the basic physiological tools associated with water use, including canopy temperature, water status, spectral radiometric tools, direct growth analysis, and biomass and grain yield. Around 30 participants from several Turkish national programs, Iran, Afghanistan, China, and South Africa attended the training. “The content of the course stimulated new ideas and approaches to my own research projects/breeding in national programs,” said one of the participants. Psicology2flippedMany provided positive feedback, commenting particularly on the importance of re-evaluation of new and improved methods to measure “old traits,” and the need to help national programs make better decisions. Upon leaving the course, participants asked for more training events like this one in the region. Thanks to Fatih Ozdemir (director of Bahri Dagdas International Agricultural Research Institute) and Emel Ozen (head of the Cereal Crops Department at Bahri Dagdas International Agricultural Research Institute) for hosting this event.

The course was based on Physiological Breeding I: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Improve Crop Adaptation and Physiological Breeding II: A Field Guide to Wheat Phenotyping.