What is Genomes to Fields?
Variation in genotype, environment and management practices all interact in a way that affects crop yield, profitability and environmental impact – and Nebraska is participating in the multi-state, multi-year Genomes to Fields (G2F) initiative to better predict how these variables affect overall crop performance and ultimately influence seed selection.
This type of research project is an investment that will pay dividends over a long period of time. Eventually, this research funded in part by the Nebraska Corn Board can be incorporated in breeding programs to accelerate the development of higher yielding varieties with greater resource use efficiency – and guide the selection of the correct hybrids for the correct environments.
G2F: A Project in Progress
Just as fertilizer application can be customized based on geography, as well as temperature and moisture gradients, so can the actual corn plant.
Genomes that respond well under well-watered, well-fertilized conditions typically do not thrive in water or nutrient constrained conditions. Similarly, varieties that produce greater yields under input constrained conditions typically do not perform well under “ideal growing conditions.”
The G2F initiative studies how genetic variation within the corn genome can influence different traits under varying growing conditions.
The Genomes to Fields initiative is not specific to Nebraska. In fact, Nebraska is one of 22 states contributing to this project’s data compilation over a span of several years.
The Big-Picture Goal
Over time, the corn genome will be tailored to create seed hybrids matching a wide variety of growing conditions more precisely. That means crop production will become more efficient – requiring fewer inputs such as water and fertilizer. In other words, we’re talking about outcomes that are both profitable and eco-friendly.