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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Strengthening Public Corn Breeding to Ensure That Organic Farmers Have Access to Elite Cultivars: Breeding for the Eastern & Southwest Usa

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Project Number: 3625-21000-063-08
Project Type: General Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 25, 2011
End Date: Aug 31, 2014

Objective:
1) Contribute populations to and provide testing sites/evaluations for a joint experiment to catalog germplasm for orgainc production, 2) cooperate in an inter-regional breeding effort concentrating on the eastern Corn Belt and Southwestern USA, 3) take the lead in breeding/evaluation for biotic and abiotic stresses and enhanced grain quality, 4) participate in USTN trials and pre-trials, and 5) cooperate in on-farm evaluations and stress nurseries.

Approach:
Conduct joint trials using locations in the eastern Corn Belt and Southwestern USA and using the improved breeding populations that each breeder has developed. In year one each breeder will submit approximately 10 populations, thereafter the best performing populations will be retested while additional populations from the breeders’ programs or acquired elsewhere are evaluated. Identify and test superior parents on a somewhat continuous basis, so there is a constant flow of our best hybrids to farmers and seed companies for testing and increase. Make numerous crosses between parents with desired traits, hybridizing those crosses with multiple testers, examining the hybrid test crosses in yield trials and thereby identifying the best crosses to work with, then selfing the best of those families to the S3 stage while systematically testing resulting lines in test crosses. The best S3 lines will be further tested, selected, and developed as inbreds for making hybrids or recombined to make synthetics which will receive additional testing to identify those that best fit the organic ideotype. Because speed is essential we plan to do early and repeated testing for combining ability in top cross hybrids allowing resources to be devoted to those populations that demonstrate the greatest potential early on. Winter nurseries will be used to make new crosses, to self F2 plants, to make necessary topcrosses, and to self the summer’s topcrosses to test their grain quality. Experimental hybrids from the breeding programs will be tested in small replicated plot trials at cooperating organic farms managed by the breeder. In addition, selected varieties from the plot trials will be tested in large strip-trial plots on farms. Breeding lines will be evaluated for stress and pest resistance in breeding nurseries and specialized testing will be done at a stress nursery in Illinois and New Mexico.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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