Evidence for increasing global wheat yield potential

Jose Rafael Guarin, Pierre Martre, Frank Ewert, Heidi Webber, Sibylle Dueri, Daniel Calderini, Matthew Reynolds, Gemma Molero, Daniel Miralles, Guillermo Garcia, Gustavo Slafer, Francesco Giunta, Diego N.L. Pequeno, Tommaso Stella, Mukhtar Ahmed, Phillip D. Alderman, Bruno Basso, Andres G. Berger, Marco Bindi, Gennady Bracho-MujicaDavide Cammarano, Yi Chen, Benjamin Dumont, Ehsan Eyshi Rezaei, Elias Fereres, Roberto Ferrise, Thomas Gaiser, Yujing Gao, Margarita Garcia-Vila, Sebastian Gayler, Zvi Hochman, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Leslie A. Hunt, Kurt C. Kersebaum, Claas Nendel, Jørgen E. Olesen, Taru Palosuo, Eckart Priesack, Johannes W.M. Pullens, Alfredo Rodríguez, Reimund P. Rötter, Margarita Ruiz Ramos, Mikhail A. Semenov, Nimai Senapati, Stefan Siebert, Amit Kumar Srivastava, Claudio Stöckle, Iwan Supit, Fulu Tao, Peter Thorburn, Enli Wang, Tobias Karl David Weber, Liujun Xiao, Zhao Zhang, Chuang Zhao, Jin Zhao, Zhigan Zhao, Yan Zhu, Senthold Asseng

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14 Scopus citations


Wheat is the most widely grown food crop, with 761 Mt produced globally in 2020. To meet the expected grain demand by mid-century, wheat breeding strategies must continue to improve upon yield-advancing physiological traits, regardless of climate change impacts. Here, the best performing doubled haploid (DH) crosses with an increased canopy photosynthesis from wheat field experiments in the literature were extrapolated to the global scale with a multi-model ensemble of process-based wheat crop models to estimate global wheat production. The DH field experiments were also used to determine a quantitative relationship between wheat production and solar radiation to estimate genetic yield potential. The multi-model ensemble projected a global annual wheat production of 1050 ± 145 Mt due to the improved canopy photosynthesis, a 37% increase, without expanding cropping area. Achieving this genetic yield potential would meet the lower estimate of the projected grain demand in 2050, albeit with considerable challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124045
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • crop model ensemble
  • global food security Supplementary material for this article is available online
  • radiation use efficiency
  • wheat potential yield
  • yield increase


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