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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #403591

Research Project: Development of Economically Important Row Crops that Improve the Resilience of U.S. Agricultural Production to Present and Future Production Challenges

Location: Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Research

Title: Transforming grain sorghum's climatic yield potential and grain quality through trait-based ideotype breeding

item Emendack, Yves
item Hayes, Chad
item Bean, Scott
item JAGADISH, KRISHNA - Texas Tech University
item LAZA, HAYDEE - Texas Tech University
item ROONEY, WILLIAM - Texas A&M University
item FELDERHOFF, TERRY - Kansas State University
item CARAGEA, DOINA - Kansas State University
item Pugh, Nicholas - Ace

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/28/2023
Publication Date: 6/2/2023
Citation: Emendack, Y., Hayes, C.M., Bean, S.R., Jagadish, K.S., Laza, H.E., Rooney, W., Felderhoff, T., Caragea, D., Pugh, N.A. 2023. Transforming grain sorghum's climatic yield potential and grain quality through trait-based ideotype breeding. Global Sorghum Conference: Sorghum in the 21st Century.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Sorghum has an inherent ability to adapt to harsh environmental conditions; further improvements are needed to keep sorghum production feasible under future climatic conditions. The proposed project addresses this need through the development of trait-based ideotype sorghum hybrids specifically targeted to water-deficit and favorable environments (defined as 70-to-90 and 170-to-180-bushel corn growing regions in the US, respectively). The knowledge and germplasm resulting from this project will help enhance water-deficit tolerance and productivity in harsh conditions and regain acres under relatively favorable environments. To achieve this result, a multi-disciplinary integrated approach is assembled to (i) Increase radiation use efficiency through erect leaf architecture and increased plant height; (ii) Modulating stomatal density to increase water use efficiency under water-deficit conditions and enhance carbon gain under favorable conditions; (iii) Optimizing stay green trait for improved source-sink relationships to enhance yield and grain protein; and (iv) Explore opportunities to increase seed number and sink strength by altering panicle architecture. All these objectives will be integrated through crop modelling to fully assess the interactions between the target traits and environments. As such, crop-climate modeling will be used to determine optimum trait combinations for specific environments, i.e., for water-limited (low stomatal density, stay green, tillering, higher primary rachis branches in panicle) and favorable (erect leaves with increased height, higher plant density, higher stomatal density, improved assimilate translocating hybrids, larger sink size and strength) environments. Preliminary evidence generated by the group include (i) phenotypic and molecular markers for leaf erectness and plant height; (ii) machine learning tool developed and standardized for breeding hybrids with differential stomatal density; and (iii) phenotypes and markers for different levels of stay green. The newly developed hybrids are anticipated to be competitive in about 10% and 25% of the 70-to-90 and 170-to-180-bushel corn growing locations, respectively. The five-year project comprises 80% applied with 20% basic research, with 80% of the 2M USD requested invested in personnel. Five PhD students, one post-doc and several undergraduate students that the project will support across institutes, will result in establishing a strong platform for grooming early career sorghum work force for academia and industry. The project idea has been well received by several industry partners including 2 sorghum-centric seed companies (Richardson Seeds, S&W Seed), Nu Life with a focus on enhancing grain quality and alternative markets for sorghum and Western Plains Energy LLC, focused on ethanol production. Participating industry partners have agreed to nominate representatives to be on the project task force and provide perspectives and strategic oversight on the project progress and products developed. Ultimately, it is anticipated that this multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary project would lead to a transformational increase in sorghum yield potential and higher rate of commercialization of improved hybrids.