Another area of wheat research in its infancy, is the specific ways in which weather impacts wheat. While most growers are certainly familiar with soil moisture, humidity and growing degree days, there are many weather-related impacts throughout the year.
In this section, the researcher looked at overwintering effects and specifically the impacts of ice encasement on overall winter hardiness.
Research by Dr. Emily Holm, Dr. Eric Olson and Dennis Pennington
In this project Dr. Holm, MSU assistant professor of plant/turf physiology, addressed the problem of winterkill in winter wheat. Her ultimate goals were to develop innovative ways to prepare wheat for better winter survival, and understand wheat traits associated with winter survival such that they could potentially be emphasized in future varietal breeding.
Holm’s lab team in the Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences Department selected 11 winter wheat varieties from different regional origins, and evaluated them in 2019-2020. They looked at the wheat’s tolerance to low temperatures when encased in ice and not encased in ice, and evaluated the plants for recovery from the cold treatment. This was to simulate winterkill.
Holm tested whether plant protective treatments or plant growth regulators (PGRs) had an impact on damage or recovery; this work was inconclusive. The author concluded more research was needed.
Click below to review the 2023 final written report on this project.
This one-year project sought to look at negative overwintering impacts on wheat at the cellular level, beyond recent research on low temperatures or freeze-thaw cycle impacts on wheat. Holm sought to explore wheat cells’ tolerance to abnormally high and low winter temperatures and fluctuations therein.
Holm postulated that winter wheat’s hormonal responses to ice encasement and ensuing winter hardiness (or lack thereof), could reveal metabolic and physiological pathways that could be exploited to improve wheat’s resilience over winter. And further whether fall-applied plant growth regulators (PGRs) could improve wheat’s winter survival and health, and whether the industry would accept this treatment.
Click below to review the 2020 PowerPoint slides and final report.