Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Beres BL, Rahmani E, Clarke JM, Grassini P, Pozniak CJ, Geddes CM, Porker KD, May WE and Ransom JK (2020) A Systematic Review of Durum Wheat: Enhancing Production Systems by Exploring Genotype, Environment, and Management (G × E × M) Synergies. Front. Plant Sci. 11:568657. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.568657


2020 Beres, Rahmani, Clarke, Grassini, Pozniak, Geddes, Porker, May and Ransom.


According to the UN-FAO, agricultural production must increase by 50% by 2050 to meet global demand for food. This goal can be accomplished, in part, by the development of improved cultivars coupled with modern best management practices. Overall, wheat production on farms will have to increase significantly to meet future demand, and in the face of a changing climate that poses risk to even current rates of production. Durum wheat [Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum (Desf.)] is used largely for pasta, couscous and bulgur production. Durum producers face a range of factors spanning abiotic (frost damage, drought, and sprouting) and biotic (weed, disease, and insect pests) stresses that impact yields and quality specifications desired by export market end-users. Serious biotic threats include Fusarium head blight (FHB) and weed pest pressures, which have increased as a result of herbicide resistance. While genetic progress for yield and quality is on pace with common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), development of resistant durum cultivars to FHB is still lagging. Thus, successful biotic and abiotic threat mitigation are ideal case studies in Genotype (G) × Environment (E) × Management (M) interactions where superior cultivars (G) are grown in at-risk regions (E) and require unique approaches to management (M) for sustainable durum production. Transformational approaches to research are needed in order for agronomists, breeders and durum producers to overcome production constraints. Designing robust agronomic systems for durum demands scientific creativity and foresight based on a deep understanding of constitutive components and their innumerable interactions with each other and the environment. This encompasses development of durum production systems that suit specific agro- ecozones and close the yield gap between genetic potential and on-farm achieved yield. Advances in individual technologies (e.g., genetic improvements, new pesticides, seeding technologies) are of little benefit until they are melded into resilient G × E × M systems that will flourish in the field under unpredictable conditions of prairie farmlands. We explore how recent genetic progress and selected management innovations can lead to a resilient and transformative durum production system.