What is in this article?:
- Cotton breeding study targets food-fiber-fuel for world
- Precision ag tools
- Benefits across Cotton Belt
- Arizona researchers tackle improved heat and drought tolerance in Upland and Pima cotton cultivars with possibly higher yields.
- Three-year-old project called “high throughput phenotyping of cotton” is led by USDA-ARS research geneticist Mike Gore, with technology input from University of Arizona precision agriculture specialist Pedro Andrade.
- Project has potential benefits across the Cotton Belt and in many different crops worldwide, including wheat, rice, and soybeans.
Benefits across Cotton Belt
The information gained in the Arizona cotton study is geared specifically for cotton production in Arizona’s dry, arid climate. Yet the lessons learned could benefit producers across the Cotton Belt.
Gore says, “Each growing region has different environmental conditions which directly impact cotton plant yield. The environment in Arizona is unique and valuable for testing the heat and drought tolerance of cotton cultivars developed for the Cotton Belt.”
ARS-based research results are open to the public and companies at no charge. The information can be cloned or re-purposed for specific uses. Gore expects a complete software package from the Arizona project could be available in about five years. The Arizona research project is ongoing and will evolve over time.
The project is funded by Cotton Incorporated, USDA-ARS, and UA.
Cotton is not the only crop which could benefit from the project. ARS research geneticist Jesse Poland in Manhattan, Kan., is applying the Arizona canopy spectral and temperature components in wheat and soybean breeding trials.
The Arizona project has received global interest. A scientist from the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, Philippines, travelled to Arizona to discuss the possible application of Gore and Andrade’s research for developing drought-resistant rice.
A major side benefit of the Arizona project is scientists and engineers working together to achieve a common goal, Andrade explains. This allows various disciplines to work together which is happening more and more in research circles across the U.S.
“It is extremely powerful when you join the best technology across disciplines — in this case genetics, engineering, and precision agriculture. It’s a win-win opportunity,” Andrade believes.
In summary, Gore and Andrade have strong passions to enhance crops to improve profitability for producers. In the larger perspective, Gore says it’s about preparing agriculture to meet the needs of a burgeoning world population.
“I see the huge challenge facing agriculture is how to feed, clothe, and fuel a projected world population of 9 billion people by the year 2050,” the plant breeder says.
“My goal is to develop germplasm across a wide range of crops to meet the world’s future needs.”