Fructans act as storage carbohydrates in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) stems, and published data indicate that these can account for up to 70% or more of grain dry matter under conditions of drought. The activity of enzymes involved in fructan synthesis (fructosyltransferases) in wheat was measured during development of three high-yielding wheat cultivars (cvv. Kauz, Westonia and Attila A) exposed to rainfed conditions, and one cultivar (cv. Westonia) exposed to irrigated conditions. Fructan concentration was on average 2.5-fold higher in the stems of rainfed wheat compared with irrigated samples, but average fructosyltransferase activity was similar in both. There was a weak positive correlation (r(2)=0.35-0.38) between fructan concentration and fructosyltransferase activity across development in the stems of both rainfed and irrigated wheat. Soon after anthesis, 31% of accumulated fructans in rainfed Westonia stems were located in the penultimate internode, although fructosyltransferase activity was five times higher in the bottom two internodes than the penultimate internode.