Field phenotyping and long-term platforms to characterise how crop genotypes interact with soil processes and the environment

Timothy S. George*, Cathy Hawes, Adrian C. Newton, Blair M. McKenzie, Paul D. Hallett, Tracy A. Valentine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Unsustainable agronomic practices and environmental change necessitate a revolution in agricultural production to ensure food security. A new generation of crops that yield more with fewer inputs and are adapted to more variable environments is needed. However, major changes in breeding programmes may be required to achieve this goal. By using the genetic variation in crop yield in specific target environments that vary in soil type, soil management, nutrient inputs and environmental stresses, robust traits suited to specific conditions can be identified. It is here that long-term experimental platforms and field phenotyping have an important role to play. In this review, we will provide information about some of the field-based platforms available and the cutting edge phenotyping systems at our disposal. We will also identify gaps in our field phenotyping resources that should be filled. We will go on to review the challenges in producing crop ideotypes for the dominant management systems for which we need sustainable solutions, and we discuss the potential impact of three-way interactions between genetics, environment and management. Finally, we will discuss the role that modelling can play in allowing us to fast-track some of these processes to allow us to make rapid gains in agricultural sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-278
Number of pages37
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2014


  • Agronomy
  • Field phenotyping
  • Genetics
  • Long-term platforms
  • Organic production
  • Pest and disease resistance
  • Polyculture
  • Reduced inputs
  • Reduced tillage
  • Roots


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