High yield and better adaptation to mechanisation were major breeding goals in the 1970s.
The 1980s and 1990s saw increased resistance to insect pests and diseases, and improved processing capability gain importance. Enhanced nutritional quality, low-input varieties and uses in the non-food area are the challenges for today.
A summary of breeding goals:
- Sugar yield
- Energy yield
- Grain yield
- Nutritional value
- Fodder value
- Non-food/renewable raw materials
- Diseases (fungi, viruses, bacteria)
- Pests (insects, nematodes)
- Resistance to lodging, i.e. strong stems or shorter plants so that plants don’t fall over
- Monogermity, i.e. a single plant from a single seed Bolting resistance
Other traits important to breeding
- Controlled pollination