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Breeders select best maize during CIMMYT field day

March 24, 2010

CIMMYT held a successful maize field day on 14 March 2010 at the CIMMYT maize demonstration block at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) campus, Hyderabad, India. About 110 maize breeders from the public and private sector attended.

Maize physiologist P.H. Zaidi opened the event with an overview of ongoing research activities in the maize program at CIMMYT’s Asia Program at Hyderabad, and also discussed the different types of available early and advanced generation inbred maize lines. Breeders then toured the CIMMYT maize nurseries, which were open for selection.

Sain Dass, director of the Indian Maize Program, was one of the participants, along with 21 maize scientists from the All India Coordinated Maize Program. Dass was happy with the variety of germplasm, which included several new lines in the medium and late maturity groups, as well as a new series of quality protein maize lines and drought and water-logging tolerant lines.

Dass, accompanied by Raj Gupta, CIMMYT South Asia coordinator, Andrew McDonald, CIMMYT cropping systems agronomist at CIMMYT-Nepal, B.S. Vivek, and Zaidi, visited the on-going trials for drought stress and were impressed with the drought management, which resulted in excellent genotypic variability for drought tolerance during the flowering stage.

“The best part of coming to Hyderabad is seeing the excellent drought tolerant materials,” McDonald said, agreeing with the others that the field day displayed an excellent selection of drought tolerant materials in yellow grain color, and that they should immediately be evaluated in water-stressed target environments.

The variety of available germplasm and its maintenance, purity, and phenotypic expression impressed many participants. “We have selected several vigorous and highly productive lines that are very much suitable for developing single-cross hybrids,” said J.P. Shahi, of the maize program at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

In addition to the public sector, a large number of private sector breeders also attended the field day. These included large multinationals like Pioneer, Syngenta, BIOSEED, Dupont, Bayer Crop Sciences, and Advanta, as well as nearly 40 small- and medium-scale seed companies.

Congratulations to the CIMMYT team in Hyderabad: Zaidi, Vivek, V. Vengadessan, M.T. Vinayan, Jewel Jameeta Noor, Pooja Devi, S. Nagachandra Rao, and S. Murali Mohan.

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