Climate Resilient Pearl Millet Innovation lab – We had our complementary expertise on water stress adaptation to develop cultivars of pearl millet that are more resilient to harsh climatic conditions (especially in relation to water stress and high evaporative demand).
The difficulty of comparing crops species for their “drought tolerance” is that “tolerance” is often confused with simple differences in plant water needs. For instance peanut develops a larger leaf area, has longer duration and higher yield potential than cowpea, but needs more water to fulfil its growth cycle. Both peanut and cowpea are considered drought tolerant, but each species fits specific environments where the rainfall and length of the growing season matches their water and duration requirement.
The participation to this large project is through Work Package number 4, which involve collaborative activities between several labs in India and Europe. Below are the respective Europe and India packages
Postrainy sorghum is important for about 5 million households of India. Both grain and stover residues play an almost equally important role in the sorghum value chain, and the price of stover is linked to stover quality. Postrainy sorghum production is constrained by water limitation. The purpose of that project is therefore two-folds: (i) generate cultivars with higher productivity and quality under such limitation; (ii) generate knowledge to speed up the generation of improved cultivars for similar constraints across the world.
The drier parts of the world are where development challenges are the greatest and market failure is most acute, and few if any of these are more urgent than the ‘Sahel’ region of Africa. Its unusual tolerance of low inputs, especially water, make the cereal crop sorghum essential to human populations in the Sahel, where episodic drought is a fact of life. Despite its importance, sorghum improvement has lagged that of maize, wheat and rice, largely if not entirely due to greater effort invested in the ‘Big Three’.
Chickpea is the world’s second most important pulse legume, with particular importance in the semi-arid tropics of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Like the majority of cultivated legumes, chickpea has exceedingly narrow genetic and phenotypic diversity. This has consequences for breeding of climate-resilient crop varieties, because much of the historical phenotypic plasticity necessary to tolerate environmental extremes has been lost through domestication.
Much of the current research on climate change focuses on the effect of high temperature on the reproductive biology (e.g. seed setting, pollen viability). Considerably less research is conducted targeting the effects of higher temperature on increasing the evaporative demand around the crop canopy. High evaporative demand depletes the plant’s water reserve faster and the … Continue reading The Hidden Effect of Temperature
Much has been reported on the potential of roots to improve crop yield and resilience under drought. However, most studies on roots have used time consuming methods to assess rooting differences, limiting their use in breeding and providing “static” data about roots. The Lysimetric system (LysiField) simply consists of assessing plant water uptake to support … Continue reading Water Uptake – Little at Key Time is Beautiful
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analysed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritise research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
For us gems means GEMS, or G*E*M*S (genotype by environment by management by society) interactions, i.e. the fact that crop yields results from complex biophysical interactions while acceptance depends on farmer/consumer preferences. This complexity becomes an opportunity when it is cracked into components that can be analyzed, understood, predicted, and then used to prioritize research investments to maximise return. This is what we do, and this is when GEMS become gems!
A crop performs in different ways in different sites, years and agronomic managements. These are called genotype-by-environment-by management(G*E*M) interactions, and they are a main challenge for breeders and agronomists. There is one more layer of interaction, even more complex: the society (S). Farmers and consumers have different desires, needs, expectations, and a cultivar that fits one may not fit the other (G*E*M*S interactions). The puzzle is complex and challenging but if its components are understood, specific interventions can be undertaken.For instance, breeding for a particular genotype (G, with particular physiological characteristics), for a particular environment (E, with a particular kind of drought pattern that requires a specific adaptive trait), in a particular management practice (M, for instance a sowing density, or a N fertilizer treatment), and targeted to particular farmer/consumer (S, for instance a genotype that produces a lot of rich stover for cattle ranchers) is the need of the hour.