See more from this Session: General Crop Breeding and Genetics: II
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
Our long-term goal is to develop small grains cultivars and cropping systems that will improve the profitability and competitiveness of organic producers. Our approach is to: 1. Evaluate winter wheat in state variety trials at four organic locations; 2. Use a targeted organic breeding effort complete with end-use functionality and nutritional quality evaluations at two locations beginning with the F6 generation; and 3. Conduct cover crop and soil fertility research at two locations with the goal of increasing wheat protein content. Yield analyses from F6 through F9 nurseries revealed that it is inappropriate to use data from conventional testing for making germplasm selections for organic production. When taking into consideration market and production traits and yields in organic variety trials, cultivar recommendations for organic production were different than for conventional production. Selecting and testing lines under organic production practices in different ecological regions is also needed. Nitrogen top-dressing trials revealed the need to tailor recommendations to each cultivar. Several experimental wheat lines have been outperforming most released varieties for yield and bread quality under organic production. We identified lines suited for organic production (NE04424, NE05425 and NW03681), lines suited for conventional production (Overland, Robidioux and Settler CL), and lines suitable for both production systems (e.g. McGill, Pronghorn, NW03666 and NE06469). Several other lines with excellent potential require more testing in the Organic State Variety Trials to confirm yield and quality stability. In the future, our germplasm development efforts prior to the F6 generation will focus on retaining lines with long coleoptiles and good canopy cover in a background of disease-resistance and excellent end-use quality. Thereafter, our selection efforts will focus on using state-of-the-art, non-transgenic breeding technologies (genomic selection, marker-assisted breeding, and high throughput phenotyping) to synergistically improve organic and conventional wheat breeding.