Within 15 years, annual instances of extreme high temperatures are expected to double across key wheat-growing regions, with a major impact on crop yields threatening world food security.

Key facts

"...by 2030, we should expect a twofold increase in the global wheat-growing area threatened by extremely high temperatures during critical developmental stages in a typical year, and a more than threefold increase in the area at risk by 2050.**"

The current total global wheat market is 222m hectares, of which USA, Australia and Europe comprise over 88m hectares.

Key issues

  • Wheat growers in high heat environments can lose up to 23% of their yield with as little as 4 days' exposure to high temperatures (>35ºC)
  • Losses can be even higher with longer durations of heat: a 50% yield reduction was reported with 8 days at >31ºC
  • At current prices this means between an £80 and £174* loss per hectare to growers and a significant reduction in wheat available to consumers


 What research are we doing? 

  • Our scientists are working with Rothamsted Research, Lancaster University and Nottingham University to combine efforts and insight on this major challenge facing agriculture worldwide
  • The project seeks to further develop Plant Impact's proven anti-stress Alethea™ technology, as well as screening other compounds and technologies, to specifically increase the resilience of wheat to high temperatures
  • Research will focus on targeted intervention at the key anthesis (flowering) and early seed development growth stage for wheat
  • Initial target regions for development and testing of new crop enhancement products will be key wheat growing regions facing issues with high temperatures


**Global Change Research Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno 603 00, Czeck Republic 2014

*Calculation based on price and yield statistics available on ADHB.org.uk on 14/03/2016