Diseases and pests that threaten wheat and barley are continually evolving. So, it's important to breed and test new varieties that are resistant to emerging threats.
It's not a simple process though, as plants must also produce enough grain to make them economically sustainable and have characteristics the malting and milling industries require. When fungal diseases took a huge toll on Utah wheat production just a few decades ago, plant scientists bred cultivars that withstood the challenge.
Scientists continually work to stay ahead of the next disease threats and to develop cultivars that can adapt to environmental changes.