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.
Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München
Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
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New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
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20.08.2018 | Information Technology