Thought this UW-Madison press release might interest those of you
interested in agronomic research in general, as well as this topic in
particular. Crop improvement thru sex, not the gene gun. Plant sex, I
mean. I'm being only about half as flippant as I may sound. The
AHP/Monsanto merger really has my thinking-gears turning, around the
future of sustainable ag and small-scale and local food production,
and the relationship of Real Life (the kind with things like plant
sex) to Intellectual Property. More later on that one. I thought saw
something coming with Monsanto when they did their big PR binge
earlier this year.
(Pleased to work with UW Ag Press colleagues who use terms like "cow
chow" in press releases. Eat cheese or die!)
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 15:53:41 -0500
From: Bob Cooney <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: CORN SILAGE RESEARCH
Agricultural and Consumer Press Service College of Agricultural and Life
440 Henry Mall Research Division
Madison WI 53706 (608) 262-1461 University of Wisconsin-Madison
For Immediate Release
For More Information:
Jim Coors (608) 262-7959
NUTRITIOUS EXOTIC CORN HOLDS PROMISE FOR SILAGE
Wisconsin farmers lead the nation in silage production, producing
more than 10 million tons per year. Research at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison aims to improve the nutritional value of that cow chow.
Jim Coors, a corn breeder in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,
has identified exotic corn inbreds that have high nutritional values as
silage. One of these inbred families, from Uruguay, could significantly
increase the nutritional quality above levels now available in commercial
For three years, Coors evaluated exotic corn varieties through the
USDA's Germplasm Enhancement of Maize project. The project began in the
late 1980s with 12,000 corn germplasms from Latin America and the goal of
adding genetic diversity to the U.S. corn crop to help improve disease and
insect resistance, yields, and other traits.
By 1995 breeders narrowed the list to 286 elite populations for
enhancement, and identified 30 early maturing populations that Coors began
to evaluate for their potential as silage. Other projects around the
nation are evaluating other GEM germplasms for improved starch quality,
grain yield, and drought, insect, and disease resistance.
By selecting for high digestibility, high protein and low fiber,
Coors narrowed the list to four for breeding advancement and evaluation for
silage. In 1997, through inbreeding, Coors developed 217 first-generation
inbred lines and found the cream of the crop that will be used in testing
for commercial silage hybrids.
"Twenty families from Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and the U.S. will
be used to make parental lines and crossed with other commercial inbreds
for further testing throughout the North Central region," says Coors. "The
results of this research should be available to industry breeders within
the next two to three years."
One of these new inbred families, from Uruguay, looks especially
promising. In 1997, this family, UR13085:N0204, had a stover composition
of 66 percent neutral detergent fiber, 77 percent dry matter digestibility,
and 65 percent cell wall digestibility. For comparison, typical corn
silage hybrids in Wisconsin had a stover composition of 68 percent NDF, 72
percent DMD, and 59 percent CWD.
"By using these exotic inbreds to develop commercial hybrids,"
Coors says "we may be able to increase milk production by several pounds
per day for each dairy cow."
Coors' work to improve silage extends beyond the exotic germplasm
project and is the only public corn breeding project in the nation that
focuses on improving traits for silage. For more information, a September
1996 CALS press release on corn breeding for silage is on the WorldWideWeb
writer: Teresa Miller
silage hybrids 6/98
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
If you knew what life was worth, you
would look for yours on earth. --Bob Marley
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