Thomas Marek, AgriLife Research irrigation engineer and superintendent of the North Plains Research Field near Etter, walked through fields of corn this year that showed a stark contrast between existing commercial corn varieties and experimental germplasm developed by Dr. Wenwei Xu, AgriLife Research corn breeder in Lubbock.
In a research project designed to pump only 12 inches of irrigation to supplement whatever Mother Nature provided and still grow 200 bushels of corn per acre, 2011 showed the extreme differences irrigation and germplasm can make on a crop, Marek said.
It also showed the production risks and costs associated with potential limits on irrigation water for a high water-use crop, he said.
The research project is jointly sponsored by the North Plains Groundwater District and the Ogallala Aquifer program.
"This was an extremely dry year as we had no soil moisture. And we only received a little over 2 inches of total rain during the entire growing season, with most coming too late to help production," he said. "We were expecting on average a 10-inch contribution.
"Our irrigation goal with the project was to get the corn crop up, manage the limited irrigation water to pollination, and then let the 'rainfall chips' fall where they may with the three varieties," Marek said.
The plots were 12 rows wide, 300 feet long with four replications each at four plant populations.
Within the commercial varieties in this extremely dry year, some individual corn plants have no ears and some have relatively small ears, he said.
However, growing right next to these varieties under the same conditions is an experimental variety being developed by Xu that has nearly full ears. Marek said the difference is in the germplasm and stay-green, which is a drought-resistance trait.
"There's a marked difference in the stress conditions of these commercial corn plots versus the experimental varieties," he said.
The experimental germplasm variety has a pretty good sized ear on the plants and the plant exhibits good turgor pressure or plant strength, Marek said. The experimental variety that had not been irrigated in a month "still looked strong and green" in September, while the commercial varieties were beginning to dry out.
"It was apparent the commercial varieties were severely stressed, more so than the experimental variety," he said.
"These types of germplasm being developed by Dr. Wenwei Xu will be integrated into the commercial varieties through the corporate commercial companies' breeding programs," he said. "The desired traits that are being derived through the AgriLife Research corn breeding program will be integrated into those new proposed varieties."
But Marek said germplasm alone won't be enough to sustain a corn crop through a summer like the one just experienced. Even in wetter years, greater production on less inputs are going to be required to feed the increasing global population of the world.
"The irrigation management or scheduling plays a vital role, up to 50 to 60 percent," he said. "It's paramount to get the combination of irrigation and genetics correct to achieve these types of production levels.
"These particular germplasms show extreme promise," Marek said. "But it's a synergistic effect where you need both genetics and irrigation management if you are going to derive the potential of the new variety going forward, especially in extreme and limited water conditions, which are prevalent throughout the Great Plains region."
Thomas Marek | EurekAlert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences