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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Theme 2—Improving crop yield

This theme describes the genetic approaches and associated tools and technologies that can be applied to produce varieties with increased water-limited yield potential (WLYP).

The WLYP of a variety is the maximum yield attainable when the variety is grown under average, rain-fed conditions without the limiting impacts of nutrient deficiency, soil toxicity, weed competition, insect damage and disease.

Although the actual yield that is captured on farm depends on a grower’s ability to manage the biotic and abiotic factors that contribute to yield losses (and the cost limitations of management practices), WLYP is genetically determined.

Plant breeders aim to continually improve the WYLP of crops through new varieties. However, for many crops, continued improvements in genetic yield potential and stability are becoming harder to realise.

The ‘Improving crop yield’ theme focuses on the delivery of new crop varieties with demonstrable improvements in genetic yield potential and yield stability. Given the wide range of farming environments and crop choice, targets will be crop-specific and region-specific.

Figure 7 details the aspirational and intermediate outcomes for this theme, as well as the performance measures.

Figure 7

Planned outcomes for Theme 2—Improving crop yield

Aspirational outcome (10+ years)

Cereal, pulse and oilseed varieties with significant, sustained and stable improvements in water-limited yield potential over current elite varieties in key agroecological zones and across a range of seasons.

Intermediate outcomes (5 years)

Planned outcomes for Theme 2—Improving crop yield

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