Richard Trethowan was appointed as a Professor of Plant Breeding in the Faculty in 2006. He has a B.Sc and a PhD from the University of Sydney, and is currently Director of the IA Watson Grain Research Centre within the Plant Breeding Institute. He has extensive experience in international agriculture, particularly in wheat breeding and genetics. He currently leads various national and international initiatives that aim to improve crop productivity in stressed environments. Richard is interested in developing crop cultivars that use water more efficiently and better adapt to increasingly hostile production conditions. Genetic variation for stress tolerance can be introduced into commercial cultivars from ancestral forms of some of the world’s most important food crops. This work benefits the agriculture industry in many ways: it increases productivity, raises income, and improves the sustainability of farming systems. A combined genetic and agronomic approach to improving productivity – while maintaining the resource base – is vital in the context of climate change.
There are plenty of barriers, but if we really want to we can feed the world on plant protein (largely from legumes).