Adapting dryland crop systems to future climates

The AGFACE program began in 2007. Over the past few years its focus has evolved from understanding and measuring wheat yield response to elevated CO2 (eCO2) to more complex and focused questions that can better assist in understanding how to adapt dryland cropping systems to future climates.

As AGFACE moves into its next phase, a number of major reports on the program have been prepared. The principal findings from the program’s last six years of research, as summarised from its 2011-14 report, are outlined below.

Yield response by a range of crops under eCO2 is highly variable by environment and cultivar but may be controlled by water: Yield increased in wheat on average by 26% but varied between 0 and 79% depending on cultivar, location and irrigation treatment. More information.

Protein concentration in wheat will be reduced under eCO2 but effects vary by cultivar: The changes in wheat grain protein content and composition contributed to a reduction in bread quality, though the effects of eCO2 varied across cultivars. More information.

Many micronutrients will be reduced under eCO2: Zinc and iron, in particular, were reduced under eCO2. This is a global phenomenon that could have consequences to millions of people with limited access to sufficient food. More information.

Barley yellow dwarf virus effects will increase under eCO2Barley yellow dwarf virus and its aphid vector are expected to increase in severity with increased CO2 and temperatures. More information.

Transpiration efficiency and tillering capacity traits remain effective under eCO2Traits that breeders have focused on to enhance growth and yield (transpiration efficiency, tillering capacity and stem carbohydrate capacity) remained expressed under eCO2, and did not appear to limit yield or growth. More information