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Canadian wheat alliance: standing strong: maximizing yield potential by optimizing stem strength and biomass partitioning

Crop Types
  • Wheat
Collaborating Locations


Little is known about how stem properties such as strength, diameter, wall width and height contribute to standability and few markers exist to select for preferred traits. This project will identify, dissect, and prioritize traits that contribute to maximum standability and harvest index in different environments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


  1. Understand the genetic basis of traits contributing to standability and harvest index to identify markers to incorporate into breeding programs;
  2. 2Assess whether the preferred target traits and functional markers are optimized or whether more favourable alleles exist in Canadian or novel germplasm

Key Findings

  • Plant height drives differences in stem strength and stem diameter. Taller wheat plants require stronger stems to maintain standability and height reductions caused by the RhtB1 dwarfing gene decrease stem strength. Thus, greater straw (stem) strength does not necessarily equate to greater standability (lodging resistance). Height dictates leverage forces and root anchorage also plays a key role.
  • A novel genomic region controlling lodging resistance on chromosome 1B was found that is not associated with plant height reductions or stem strength traits but was of most benefit in a high lodging environment with significant seasonal precipitation.
  • In addition to plant height, genomic regions associated with heading date and grain width also impact stem strength and diameter traits.
  • Novel QTLs responsible for height reductions in durum wheat have been identified and robust markers for the major novel height loci have been developed.

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr. John Allan Feurtado
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
SWDC, ADF, WGRF, MB grain Innovation Hub
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Abiotic Stress