- PhD Student: Mohammadreza Mohammadi
- Supervisors: Prof Chris Baker & Prof Mark Sterling
- Duration: 2016-2020
Lodging, the permanent displacement of stems from the vertical and the associated issue of yield and quality reductions have received much attention over the last ten years. Much of this focus has been directed to crops such as wheat and barley. Ireland grows very high quality oats with the potential to significantly increase exports for human consumption and as equine feed however they are prone to lodging, but relatively little work has been undertaken in order to improve its lodging resistance. This lack of work is partly due to the complex nature of the plant and the multidisciplinary nature of the work; knowledge of crop physiology and wind engineering principles are required in order to scientifically model and hence understand the lodging process, and reduce lodging risk. Important gaps in knowledge are understanding how crops with inter-locking canopies interact with wind and lodge, how the strength of stems vary up the length of the stem and the root traits that determine anchorage strength.
The proposed research combines the expertise of agronomists, crop physiologists and wind engineers in order to investigate lodging in oats. The research explores the applicability in field conditions of a theoretical model which has been developed by the team to assess lodging in oats. Through the use of a large number of field-scale trials, the model will be further developed and calibrated as appropriate. The model will then be used to investigate which plant parameters affect lodging the most and to specify the plant character values required for lodging proofness. The model will be used to quantify the effect of changes in agronomic practices on lodging risk, which will form the basis of an improved lodging risk and management scheme. It will also be used to guide the efforts of plant breeders by identification of the key traits for genetic improvement. The effect of possible climate change on the risk of lodging in the crop will also be investigated through the model.