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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
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.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
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.

3. Progress Report:
We conducted several tests of agronomic performance of corn varieties being developed for use by organic producers. The cooperative Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) population test was composed of 34 entries and was carried out at two locations. In addition, we carried out a breeding program testcross evaluation of 42 entries of mid-maturity corn at three locations: 1) New Mexico State University (NMSU) Leyendecker Agric. Research Farm, Mesquite, NM (Organic Transition); 2) Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm, Patagonia, AZ (Organic – Non-certified); 3) Gerald Thomas Field, NMSU Campus, Las Cruces, NM (Organic Transition) Finally, we carried out an evaluation of open-pollinated blue corn varieties with eight entries at six locations: 1) Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm, Patagonia, AZ (Organic – Non-certified); 2) Fabian Garcia Farm, Las Cruces, NM; 3) Tucumcari Ag Science Research Center (Conventional); 4) Alcalde Ag Science Research Center (Organic Certified); 5) Farmington Ag Science Research Center (Conventional); 6) Los Lunas Ag Science Research Center (Organic – Certified) In addition to evaluations, we carried out two breeding nurseries, one in Winter 2011-2012 in Lajas, Puerto Rico consisting of ~517 plots for topcrosses and inbreeding in cooperation with University of Mayaguez and one in Summer 2012 at – Fabian Garcia Farm, Las Cruces, NM consisting of ~490 plots for inbreeding and testcrossing.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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