Better Barley

Last changed: 07 August 2023

The project in brief

The aim of this project is to strengthen existing domestic barley breeding by introducing novel and efficient methods, in particular the implementation of genomic-assisted breeding for both two and six-row barley. Results of this project are expected to lead to a more viable agricultural economy in northern Sweden, increased seed sales for Swedish-bred barley varieties in neighboring Nordic countries, as well as a stronger technological framework for barley breeding and research in Sweden.

Barley is an important crop species for farmers in northern Sweden. Although of very high economic relevance locally, variety development for this region constitutes too narrow of a market for large international plant breeding companies to target. Consequently, varieties that are specifically adapted to the North of Sweden have been mainly provided by domestic breeding programs.

The project will use novel statistical methods for genomic prediction, breeding process simulations, barley bioinformatics, and trait prioritization. It is, in particular, the combination of these approaches that makes this project unique in its scope and relevance.

The project is going to work with historical data from previously conducted field trials from Lantmännen, contucted in Bjertorp, Kollback and Lännäs. New field trials will be conducted during the project duration partly to include new phenotypic data and genotypes to the project and partly also for evaluating the prediction results obtained in the project.

Results will be commercialized through the direct application in Lantmännen’s Northern Barley breeding program primarily to the benefit of farmers in northern Sweden, but also in neighboring countries such as Finland, Norway, Baltic countries and Iceland via seed sales and export providing additional income and market consolidation for the Swedish seed industry.

The project will collaborate with the SLU Grogrund project Low cost genomic selection (Kostnadseffektiv genomisk selektion), which focuses on wheat, sugar beet and peas. It will benefit from competence and resources already well developed in that project, while at the same time contributing novel insights gained from particular aspects (GWAS, simulations) of this project.

Workshops and training sessions will be organized to train breeders, students and technical staff in genomic selection. This will be done together with other SLU Grogrund projects focused on genomic selection, encouraging the involved students and members to meet and share expertise. 
Genomic selection in red clover and New and effective methods to breed timothy grass and Kostnadseffektiv genomisk selektion.


Project Period: 2022-2026

Project Coordinator: Ramesh Vetukuri 

Participating Organizations: SLU, Lantmännen


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