Overcoming the root phenotyping bottleneck in cereals

Page last updated: Wednesday, 27 March 2024 - 1:58pm

This project aims to develop new phenomics methods and tools to enable the Australian grains research community (including pre-breeders, agronomists and physiologists) to achieve their research outcomes more effectively. These methods and tools will enable challenging crop traits to be measured with greater accuracy, speed and cost effectiveness, resulting in more effective delivery of research outcomes that benefit Australian grain growers.

Start date: 1/03/2024
Finish date: 1/03/2029


This project aims to overcome the field phenotyping bottleneck for impactful root traits that limits the capacity of breeders and agronomists to achieve step gains in crop productivity, by selecting genotypes and precision agronomic interventions that increase drought tolerance in wheat and sorghum.

Previous root phenotyping approaches using pots, root chambers or tubes have struggled to functionally relate root structure traits with root function, yield and yield stability. This project integrates the new functional high throughput phenotyping (HTP) approach for valuable root traits in the field, within the trait pipeline approach applied in pre-breeding and large multinational seed companies, where there is simultaneous development of screening methods and evaluation of trait value in relevant germplasm.

Additionalities are the scaling of the developed tools to inform agronomic research, and precision agriculture applications with the participating service providers. A key focus is to develop functional high-throughput in-field root phenotyping tools for traits that are valuable, show genetic diversity and agronomic application, and that will contribute to yield and yield stability.

This project is led by UQ, with collaborative research activities conducted by UQ, DPIRD and CSIRO. Seed companies and precision agriculture companies are actively involved in the project.

Funding partner:



Contact information

Hammad Khan