Decline in climate resilience of European wheat | MED-Amin network |

Published in issue on 2 January 2019 on National Academy of Sciences - Food security under climate change depends on the yield performance of staple food crops. We found a decline in the climate resilience of European wheat in most countries during the last 5 to 15 y, depending on the country. The yield responses of all the cultivars to different weather events were relatively similar within northern and central Europe, within southern European countries, and specifically regarding durum wheat. We also found serious Europe-wide gaps in wheat resilience, especially regarding yield performance under abundant rain. Climate resilience is currently not receiving the attention it deserves by breeders, seed and wheat traders, and farmers. Consequently, the results provide insights into the required learning tools, economic incentives, and role of public actors.

According to the authors, the causes of this decline in climate resilience of wheat are to be found in the economic incentives of breeders, which favor the maximization of potential yield to the detriment of robustness to hazards. Far from opposing, these two dimensions should, for them, be complementary, and agricultural policy and seed regulations have a role to play to ensure the necessary incentives in this area.