Department of Small Grain Cereals

The target of the cereal breeders in Szeged is to develop bread wheat, durum wheat, triticale, barley, oats and rye varieties delivering high and stable yield and exhibiting superior quality parameters and to elaborate their production techniques. The cultivars have to compete and gain market share under unpredictable and always changing market conditions, which challenges the seed sales, our main income besides funded R&D projects and state-budgeted scientific projects. The seed of the cereals is multiplied in a contractual network with more than 100 companies around the country, so the seed of each cultivar can be purchased within 50 km in each region of Hungary.

The existing, mutually advantageous business relations can be preserved only if we keep on developing excellent cereal varieties as a result of the applied researches supported by basic researches. Besides conventional methods, it is essential to elaborate, introduce and adapt novel scientific procedures and techniques and constantly advance the basic researches.

The global concerns of cereal production are as follows: stability of yield, safety of yield, stability of quality and food safety. Plant breeders can contribute to the improvement of stability of yield and quality.The stability of yield is a multifactorial and complex trait. It covers the resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and wide adaptability to the different environmental and agronomic conditions. The cereal ideotype exhibits good winter hardiness, drought tolerance, resistance to the most significant diseases and tolerance to the seasonal effects, the soil conditions and the different agronomic conditions.

Cereals have to meet the strict quality demand of the market. Breeding for productivity has to be coupled with selection for quality. The farmers had already experienced the difficult marketability of the cereal yield and therefore they look for the cereal varieties that not only deliver high and stable grain yield, but also comply with the quality parameters demanded by the milling industry and animal feeding. To meet the demand, the cereal breeders identify and incorporate new genetic resources enhancing excellent nutritive value and favourable milling and bread-making quality into the genotypes and implement new testing and screening methods to select the cultivars with outstanding quality parameters.