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Wheat and drought: Why are some cultivars more tolerant than others?

wheat plant in a field

Image: Wikimedia Commons

AMARILLO – Drought is the most important constraint limiting wheat yields in the U.S. Southern High Plains, and the past four years of exceptional drought have provided a tremendous opportunity for research and genetic improvements.

Although wheat yield and drought tolerance have been improved over the years by the Texas A&M Wheat Breeding Program, the physiological mechanisms of drought tolerance among the TAM wheat cultivars have not been well understood, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists in Amarillo.

Three different AgriLife Research studies in Amarillo have been aimed at determining what traits within the TAM cultivars provide greater or less drought tolerance. The results have recently been published in three international journals.