Temperature Variability and Wheat Quality

20:00 EDT 19 Jun 2017 | Meridian Institute

Climate change, and the resulting hot and cold spells, could affect both the bread-making and seed quality of growing subsequent wheat crops, depending on when such spells occur. Brief periods of either very hot, or very cold, temperatures around the time of flowering in wheat can damage pollination, and thereby reduce grain yield substantially. But, say scientists at the University of Reading, United Kingdom, subsequent extreme temperatures can have more subtle, important effects on the quality of wheat. In their study, the team found that high-temperature episodes during early seed filling improved the protein content and starch integrity for bread-making wheat, but reduced gluten strength. The quality of seed to grow later crops was, however, reduced by high-temperature episodes during early seed filling. According to Richard Ellis, a professor of crop production, "Food security is dependent upon crop quality, not just yield. Similarly, farm incomes derive from crop value as well as yield. Climate change impact assessments should consider crop quality as well as yield. Both require particular attention to be paid to the timing of extreme temperature events in relation to crop development… Overall, the research implies that more frequent high-temperature episodes after flowering would improve the proportion of UK-produced wheat meeting most premium market requirements for bread-making or seed; such payments for meeting or exceeding quality thresholds may mitigate the impact of reduced grain yield on farm incomes."

Original Article: Temperature Variability and Wheat Quality


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