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Our website is currently undergoing a transition to reflect the amalgamation of the two commissions into the new Alberta Grains brand. Until then, you’ll still be able to toggle between the Wheat and Barley sides for industry news, research and relevant information to help grow your crops, your business, and your future.

Stay tuned for the official launch of the new website!

Research Project

Barley lodging – getting to the root of the problem

Dr. John (Allan) Feurtado, National Research Council, Saskatoon

Start Date: September 1, 2020 

End Date: May 15, 2023

Alberta Barley’s contribution: $15,000

Lodging and mechanical failure of the stem or root system is a significant issue in barley leading to yield reductions and economic losses for Canadian producers. The development of barley varieties with improved lodging resistance is thus a high breeding priority. Assessment of root and stem traits important for lodging resistance will provide critical knowledge required for the development of cultivars with high standability. Significant associations of root system architecture (RSA) traits to field lodging resistance have been discovered. A field trial in 2020 assessed lodging, height, heading date, and yield. Controlled environment (CE) experiments assessing RSA traits have associated seminal root emergence angle, root system network solidity, and crown-root-related traits to field lodging. Wider seminal root angles, which increase root system width especially in the uppermost topsoil layers, are consistent with the association of root plate spread with increased lodging resistance. Similarly, reduced root system network solidity promotes root system (root plate) spread and is thus also associated with field lodging resistance. The association of crown root area and biomass traits, as assessed under favourable CE conditions, with lodging susceptibility is not consistent with the importance of root plate spread to lodging resistance. Further work to assess RSA in conditions modeling the stresses of field conditions will be necessary as the project progresses with objectives to discover key stem and root traits underlying lodging resistance.


  1. Evaluate root system architecture in barley cultivars varying for lodging resistance
  2. Evaluate stem and root lodging in field trials 
  3. Assess the correlation between various root phenotyping methods
  4. Compare RSA in Canadian barley to a diverse set of barley germplasm.