Research aimed at increasing wheat yields would be one of four major priorities for Rothamsted Research, its new director and chief executive, Maurice Moloney, said at Cereals 2010.
Wheat yields had not increased at the same rate as maize or soya beans in the past 15 years, he pointed out. "Those crops have benefited from other technology, and we need to do some of those things with wheat."
Researchers would aim to increase resistance within the crop to pests and diseases, and make it a more efficient user of nitrogen and water. Attempts would also be made to identify genes that would increase crop vigour, ultimately leading to increased yields, he said.
Other areas of research would concentrate on healthy grains and seed, bioenergy and soils, he added.