BELGIUM / NETHERLANDS: Seeding Rates -- Influence on Phenotypic Expression of Wheat Populations for Participatory Plant Breeding | SRI Global News: Nov. 2023 - Jan. 2024 ** -- System of Rice Intensification |

 In Belgium and The Netherlands, bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is getting attention. The few varieties available are pure lines that do not match the range of environments and organic farming practices, so  yields and milling quality are often disappointing.


Composite Cross Populations (CCP) have been created with the idea of evolutionary plant breeding through on-farm mass selection and seed saving. In 2015–2016, one CCP of winter wheat was cropped side by side with a pure line variety in four organic farms with different wheat cropping practices. Seeding rates ranged from the standard high to the very low ones practiced under the System of Wheat Intensification (SWI). Multivariate data analysis confirmed greater differentiation of the CCP both compared with pure line varieties and within populations where inter-plant competition was less intense. Low seeding rates seem to enhance phenotypic expression potential of a CCP, yet this is often neglected by plant breeders. Since both CCP and SWI have great potential for ecological intensification within organic farming, more work is needed to combine innovation in farming practices and on-farm plant breeding.