Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Speed ​​Breeding Technique: Know how to harvest crops like wheat, barley and gram 6 times a year?

Scientists develop speed breeding technique in which plants grow very fast


Today hardly any farmer is unaware of the farming done in polyhouse. Similarly, the method of irrigation with drip irrigation and sprinkler is also not very old. The aim of every technology is to get maximum yield with least resources or cost. ‘Speed ​​breeding’ is also one such new technology, which is a great enthusiasm among agricultural scientists around the world, because due to this technology, plants can be grown very fast under controlled or artificial conditions.

This technique of growing plants was found to be so powerful that farmers can get 6 times the yield of crops like wheat, barley, gram in a year. This achievement is not limited to cereals like wheat-barley and pulses like gram, but it has also given encouraging results in oilseed crops like canola i.e. Rape Seed. Only then 4 crops can be taken in its year.

Speed ​​Breeding Begins 

About 13-14 years ago, the American Space Institute ‘NASA’ started research to challenge the reproductive speed and efficiency of crops. Its purpose was whether it is possible to accelerate the rate of growth of plants and if yes, how and what would be its limitations? This research project was called ‘Speed ​​Breeding’. Through this, NASA has succeeded in growing wheat in space as well. There the plants were provided with oxygen, soil and irrigation, and they were provided with continuous light access for the use of speed breeding.

As a result of such laboratory activity, not only did the initial growth of the plants become very rapid, but their crop cycle duration was also greatly reduced and no adverse effect on the quality of the yield was observed. After getting encouraging results from such an initial effort, Australian scientists also repeated the process adopted in space in their laboratories and confirmed that the technology of speed breeding can make a revolutionary change in the direction of better yield of crops and speeding up research. 

Speed ​​Breeding Technique
Image Credit: iipr

Indian scientists also found the use of speed breeding  

According to experts of the Department of Botany, University of Delhi, the results of experiments conducted on speed breeding technology proved that wheat crop can be grown on the same land 4 to 6 times in a year with the help of balanced temperature and light. Its yield can be increased up to 3 times. Not only this, disease resistance and other properties can also be improved in wheat crop with the technique of speed breeding.

Seeing the encouraging results of speed breeding technology, the interest of researchers in it has increased tremendously. Following the success in the laboratories, the Australian scientist also developed a new variety of wheat developed three years ago by speed breeding technology and it was distributed among the farmers. For semi-arid and tropical regions like India, research projects are being carried out at the International Crop Research Institute at Hyderabad and the International Rice Research Institute at Varanasi in collaboration with the University of Queensland, Australia.

Comparison of Speed ​​Breeding and Simple Glass House Method 

Harvest Speed ​​Breeding Glass House Light Duration 22 Hours Ordinary Glass House Light Duration 12 Hours
Wheat 6 Crop3 Crop
Barley6 Crop3 Crop
Chickpea 6 Crop3 Crop
Canola4 Crop2 Crop


Research results for speed breeding 

According to a research team from the Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation and the University of Queensland, special glass houses with speed breeding harvest spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, chickpeas and peas 6 times a year and canola crops 4 times a year can be achieved. Whereas only 2 to 3 crops can be grown under normal glass house conditions. In special glass houses with speed breeding, the plants are provided with light for 22 hours, while in ordinary glass houses, its duration is 10 hours.

That’s why scientists from the University of Sydney, the University of Australia, Queensland and the John Innes Center in the United Kingdom have put forward both the concept and the reality of speed breeding. A research article has also been published in the prestigious ‘Nature’ magazine about the research method required for this, regular facilities etc., in which it has been told that the development of seeds by providing the necessary light with the help of LED bulbs in the glass house. speed can be increased. Not only this, the quality and yield of plants grown in a balanced climate and better light were also found to be significantly better than the crop grown in ordinary glass house.  

Importance and benefits of speed breeding technology 

The glass house is also called the growth chamber of plants. On the one hand, while the plants grown in glass houses are usually kept under normal bulb light for 10 hours in a day, in glass houses with speed breeding, LED light is given to the plants for 22 hours daily. During this technique, the process of making food in plants, that is, photosynthesis, occurs rapidly and due to this the plants grow faster. That is why it is a common opinion in the community of scientists that with the help of speed breeding glass house technology, new varieties of plants can also be developed in a very short time and faster.

Speed ​​breeding technology not only realises the dream of getting better yield in less time but also adds new dimensions of research for scientists in modern crop development techniques like DNA chain, genome selection. The most important thing is that the whole process of speed breeding is in accordance with the laws of nature, as plants naturally go through different stages of development, producing their food in sunlight. 

That is why during the night when plants do not get sunlight, they have to rest by breathing like other animals. Whereas with the help of speed breeding, by arranging light for the plants even at night, we continue their food production process for a long time. Here, the role of light is similar, as we help the plants to grow properly by providing fertilizer and irrigation etc.

Limitations of Speed ​​Breeding Techniques 

The rapid growth of the crop, the speed breeding technique, has shown encouraging results in the case of crops that require prolonged illumination such as spinach, radish and lettuce. Whereas in the case of less sunlight crops like sugarcane, rice, cotton etc., better results have not been found. That is why there is a challenge before the scientists to develop such varieties of crops which are compatible with speed breeding technology and can give good yield. 

Speed ​​Breeding and Global Food Security 

There is no doubt that speed breeding technology will change the whole world of farming in future. It will be almost as widespread as we have seen in the world after the discovery of electricity. It is expected that in future this technology will prove to be a milestone in meeting the need of food grains around the world. Because it is estimated that by 2050 the world population will be about 9 billion. To meet the food needs of such a large population, 50 to 60 percent more food would be needed than today.

On the other hand, due to global warming and ever-changing weather patterns and ever-increasing means of farming, there is a lot of pressure on the agriculture sector. Farmers often complain that they do not get good income in farming. Because of this, the trend of ordinary people towards agriculture also seems to be decreasing. But imagine how fascinating the world of farming can be when technology like speed breeding becomes accessible to ordinary farmers.

Also Read: Variety of beans: Increased crop production from zorin beans, this purple variety is climate friendly

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