DST-SERB (N-PDF): Plant architecture suitable for very high planting densities to enhance sorghum grain and fodder yield (2017-19)
Over the last century, maize planting densities have increased from about 3 to 9 plants m-2. No such increase in the planting density has taken place in sorghum, at least in the last 40-50 years. This project involves an increase in planting density of sorghum which could lead towards the improvement of their productivity.
Sowing density of maize has tripled in about a century, from about 3 plants m-2 to about 10 plants m-2 nowadays. Yet, there has been no deliberate effort to breed for an increased density, although this change accounts for a large part of the increase in maize productivity. Clearly, maize breeding has integrated traits that made the crop resistant to higher and higher density. This work presents an opportunity to dramatically advance genetic and productivity progress in sorghum by tackling an agronomy issue (plant density) that has a genetic basis (capacity to stand higher densities), taking into consideration historical evidence from the case of maize.
The main objective is identifying the potential traits conferring the density response in few earlier identified promising genotypes and also explore the nutritional content of grain and stover with the change in plant densities.
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.