Dr. Wenwei Xu, AgriLife Research corn breeder from Lubbock, is working with crosses between temperate and tropically adapted varieties of corn to find a drought-tolerant plant that performs well under reduced irrigation.
"With the continuing decline of the Ogallala Aquifer water level and increasing cost of pumping water, the use of drought-tolerant and high-yield corn hybrids is a key for sustainable corn production under limited irrigation," Xu said.
A field day was held recently at the North Plains AgriLife Research Station near Etter to demonstrate the differences between the parent plants and the offspring, or crosses.
"We hope to reduce the amount of water required for corn by at least 10 percent," Xu said.
Already the AgriLife Research program out of Lubbock has released four inbred lines of corn and numerous others are in the process for release, he said.
"The new multiple-stress-tolerant corn lines can be used to produce corn hybrids adapted to Texas and other southern states," Xu said. "They can be a powerful tool to save water and produce crops with yield and grain quality under stressful environments."
The research station at Etter is one of three test sites in Xu's program. The others are located at Halfway and Lubbock.
About 500 hybrids are being evaluated this year for either grain yield or silage yield and quality, he said.
Xu said there has been an increasing demand for silage corn in the Texas High Plains, and producers need new hybrids adapted to the local environment. Corn produced in the U.S. is primarily based on two races of maize, but there are more than 250 races identified around the world, Xu said.
"Most of our breeding efforts start by crossing tropical corn with temperate elite lines," he said. "Then we select for desirable traits to broaden genetic diversity and introduce useful genes from exotic corn to improve stress tolerance, agronomic productivity, disease resistance, insect resistance and value-added grain characteristics."
Xu said some of the experimental hybrids they are working with have produced the same silage yield under irrigation equaling 75 percent evapotranspiration as with 100 percent evapotranspiration irrigation.
Evapotranspiration is the loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration from the plants, and is reported on a daily basis through the Texas High Plains Evapotranspiration Network ( http://txhighplainset.tamu.edu/ ).
Bruce Spinhirne, AgriLife Research associate based in Lubbock, said they reduced the irrigation on a few hybrids by 50 percent and had a severe yield and quality limitation, so they followed that by the 75 percent water application.
Those results are due in part to the use of stored moisture in the soil profile, Spinhirne said.
"At 75 percent (evapotranspiration), you have 3 to 4 inches of available moisture that is used, where if you are watering at 100 percent, it is wasted," he said.
The average silage yield of 20 corn hybrids at two locations (Etter and Halfway) was 26.84 tons per acre under 75 percent evapotranspiration irrigation, just slightly lower than the 27.49 tons per acre under 100 percent evapotranpiration irrigation, Spinhirne said.
However, he said, there were significant differences among hybrids in each environment.
"One of our experimental hybrids produced the same amount of silage in both locations when irrigation was reduced from 100 percent to 75 percent," Spinhirne said.
"Developing and using new corn hybrids with improved tolerance to drought and other stresses is important and a viable water-saving approach," he said.
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy