MFAI Corn Breeding Program Update
May 25, 2011
Starting A New Growing Season
We enter into a new growing year together with Marcos Heredia, intern from Ecuador, and R.J. Ottaviano, our new Research Technician.
This Spring we are planting hybrids and breeding lines grown for us during the Winter by the University of Puerto Rico under organic conditions. Seed was grown and harvested with help from devoted workers at that station and by USDA staff. Though many had doubted whether it was possible to grow an organic nursery in Puerto Rico due to bug pressure, our results did show that it worked – at least this year!
Our Spring plantings are concerned with research on nitrogen efficiency in corn and the effect of microorganisms on N fixation or N uptake from soil. Furthermore, we are studying the adaptation of corn to organic systems. We also continue our work to breed corn that combines high nutritional value and yield. Initial results suggest that it is possible to breed corn that produces as much as 1/3 more protein an amino acids per acre. In joint trials with USDA we are focusing on yield trials to determine our best hybrids.