. Energy News .

Germplasm, irrigation management make a difference in corn production
by Staff Writers
College Station TX (SPX) Sep 29, 2011

File image.

Germplasm and stay-green technology utilized by Texas AgriLife Research corn breeders could make growing corn on limited water a greater possibility in the near future, according to AgriLife Research studies.

Thomas Marek, AgriLife Research irrigation engineer and superintendent of the North Plains Research Field near Etter, walked through fields of corn this year that showed a stark contrast between existing commercial corn varieties and experimental germplasm developed by Dr. Wenwei Xu, AgriLife Research corn breeder in Lubbock.

In a research project designed to pump only 12 inches of irrigation to supplement whatever Mother Nature provided and still grow 200 bushels of corn per acre, 2011 showed the extreme differences irrigation and germplasm can make on a crop, Marek said.

It also showed the production risks and costs associated with potential limits on irrigation water for a high water-use crop, he said.

The research project is jointly sponsored by the North Plains Groundwater District and the Ogallala Aquifer program.

"This was an extremely dry year as we had no soil moisture. And we only received a little over 2 inches of total rain during the entire growing season, with most coming too late to help production," he said. "We were expecting on average a 10-inch contribution.

"Our irrigation goal with the project was to get the corn crop up, manage the limited irrigation water to pollination, and then let the 'rainfall chips' fall where they may with the three varieties," Marek said.

The plots were 12 rows wide, 300 feet long with four replications each at four plant populations.

Within the commercial varieties in this extremely dry year, some individual corn plants have no ears and some have relatively small ears, he said.

However, growing right next to these varieties under the same conditions is an experimental variety being developed by Xu that has nearly full ears. Marek said the difference is in the germplasm and stay-green, which is a drought-resistance trait.

"There's a marked difference in the stress conditions of these commercial corn plots versus the experimental varieties," he said.

The experimental germplasm variety has a pretty good sized ear on the plants and the plant exhibits good turgor pressure or plant strength, Marek said. The experimental variety that had not been irrigated in a month "still looked strong and green" in September, while the commercial varieties were beginning to dry out.

"It was apparent the commercial varieties were severely stressed, more so than the experimental variety," he said.

"These types of germplasm being developed by Dr. Wenwei Xu will be integrated into the commercial varieties through the corporate commercial companies' breeding programs," he said. "The desired traits that are being derived through the AgriLife Research corn breeding program will be integrated into those new proposed varieties."

But Marek said germplasm alone won't be enough to sustain a corn crop through a summer like the one just experienced. Even in wetter years, greater production on less inputs are going to be required to feed the increasing global population of the world.

"The irrigation management or scheduling plays a vital role, up to 50 to 60 percent," he said. "It's paramount to get the combination of irrigation and genetics correct to achieve these types of production levels.

"These particular germplasms show extreme promise," Marek said. "But it's a synergistic effect where you need both genetics and irrigation management if you are going to derive the potential of the new variety going forward, especially in extreme and limited water conditions, which are prevalent throughout the Great Plains region."

Related Links
Texas A and M AgriLife Communications
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

GM food solutions at risk from lobbyists
Edinburgh, UK (SPX) Sep 28, 2011
Powerful lobby groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) food are threatening public acceptance of the technology in Europe, research suggests. They are also hampering Europe's response to the global challenge of securing food supplies for current and future generations, researchers claim. Drawing upon a decade of evidence, researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Warwick Univers ... read more

Russia may launch its first Earth remote sensing satellite in 2012

Astrotech Subsidiary Wins Contract for NASA Mission

Japanese meteorological firm to launch satellite to track Arctic sea ice

ERS satellite missions complete after 20 years

Anger as GPS drives tourists to Hollywood icon

Swedish daycare to test GPS for tracking kids

Honeywell Unveils New Version of ViewPoint

Russia set to launch Glonass-M satellite on Oct. 1

US, Indonesia sign $30m debt-for-nature swap

Publication offers tree-planting tips

Bolivian minister resigns over Amazon crackdown

Fear not, US tells guitarists worried by illegal wood

JBEI identify new advanced biofuel as an alternative to diesel fuel

Motor fuel from wood and water?

Researchers sequence dark matter of life

USDA Scientists Use Commercial Enzyme to Improve Grain Ethanol Production

Cheap and efficient solar cell made possible by linked nanoparticles

Lessons to be Learned from Nature in Photosynthesis

Copper Film Could Lower Touch Screen, LED and Solar Cell Costs

Nature offers key lessons on harvesting solar power

New energy in search for future wind

Investment blows into India's wind sector

Spain's Gamesa signs deal with Chinese firm

MPs: Britain needs North Sea 'supergrid'

Concern as China firm to buy Australian coal mine

India acquires Australian coal assets

China, India buy up Australian coal field

Mongolia rejects major coal mine deal

US urges China to respect Tibetans' rights

US urges China to respect Tibetans' rights

China mulls reforms to tighten grip on media, web

China tax department's yacht sparks outcry

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement