Project Number: 3096-21000-022-028-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jan 1, 2020
End Date: Dec 31, 2020
1) Continue identifying the range of diversity for drought tolerance on selected entries within the USDA-ARS Cotton Germplasm Collection and among commercial cotton varieties. 2) Release cotton germplasm with improved fiber qualities when grown under limited irrigation.
Crop breeding programs have been successful in developing cultivars with high-yields under optimal conditions. However, the current levels of production are under threat by the fact that the climate is getting hotter and drier and aquifers, such as the Ogallala, are being depleted faster than they can be replenished, In addition, rainfall in the future is predicted to decline to 30 to 127 mm in the majority of counties of the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains because of climate unrest. Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is the major crop grown in the High Plains of Texas, and the lower humidity associated with the predicted reduction in rain raises the possibility of increased vegetative-canopy water-deficit stress and reproductive (boll production) dehydration stress. Plant stress due to limited irrigation or drought has a major detrimental impact on yield and fiber quality traits such as length, strength and uniformity. The proposed research will use traditional plant-mapping methods, stress bioassay, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to identify cotton breeding lines or germplasm with improved fiber qualities when grown under limited irrigation or stress//drought conditions. UAS has become increasingly important as a tool for both high-throughput phenotyping and crop management. We have recently developed and tested a combination of low-cost, consumer-grade hardware and open-source software for its utility in estimating cotton development and yield in rain-grown and irrigated production settings. Additionally, we will characterize a selected number of breeding lines from a recombinant inbred population derived from Acala NemX and Acala SJ-2 and other breeding lines developed from a cross between New Mexico 67 and Phytogen 72 for possible germplasm release. The NM67 is an introgressed line with genes from G. hirsutum and G. barbadense with excellent pollen drought tolerance, and the Phytogen 72 has excellent fiber qualities. Our research will identify new lines with enhanced fiber quality and yields under limited irrigation and dryland production systems.