Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance

Moisture deficit ois one of the greatest challenges to future crop production. Severe drought in recent years drastically reduced crop yields and disrupted regional economies. Even in average years, however, many agricultural regions suffer from chronic moisture deficits. Two major trends will likely increase the frequency and severity of crop moisture deficits:

  1. Global climate change. Higher temperatures are likely to increase crop water use due to increased transpiration. A warmer atmosphere will also speed up melting of mountain snowpack, resulting in less water available for irrigation. More extreme weather patterns will increase the frequency of drought in some regions.
  2. Competing uses for limited water supplies. Increased demand from municipal and industrial users will further reduce the amount of water available for irrigated crops.

Although changes in tillage and irrigation practices can improve production by conserving water, enhancing the genetic tolerance of crops to drought stress is considered an essential strategy for addressing moisture deficits

This is an initiative of Colorado State University and University of Nebraska Lincoln, to improve capacity in the area of plant breeding for drought tolerance. The initiative includes symposia and online courses. For more information, click on Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance.

Back to top