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Tackling complexity in winter wheat

July 11, 2011

Winter wheat constitutes a staple food in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region, where it is grown on around 18 million hectares in wide-ranging cropping systems. It can be found in climates that span cold, dry environments; temperate areas with heavy rainfall; and irrigated, highyielding lands constrained by different biotic and abiotic stresses. These varied landscapes contribute significantly to the grain’s diversity and complexity.

To address the constraints upon and future outlook of this multifaceted crop, wheat researchers convened at the 1st Regional Winter Wheat Symposium on 25-27 June 2011 in Tabriz, Iran. The event drew more than 100 participants from 12 countries in the CWANA region. Held at the El Guli Hotel, the symposium hosted 24 research presentations on winter wheat breeding, agronomy, pathology, genetics, and production.

Activities also included a one-day field visit to farmers’ fields and the Maragheh Research Station, operated by the Dryland Agricultural Research Institute (DARI), in Hashtrood, Iran. The excursion illuminated the production constraints on winter wheat and opportunities for research and development.

The presentations and discussions produced a wealth of dialogue among attendees. By the symposium’s conclusion, participants had developed and agreed upon recommendations to further address national and international issues relating to winter wheat production and research.

The symposium was sponsored and supported by the Dryland Agricultural Research Institute (DARI), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), CIMMYT, the Seed and Plant Improvement Institute (SPII), the Jihad Agriculture Organization of East Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture, and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO).