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Iowa Corn Growers Association
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Phenotyping

Increasing Corn Productivity and Improvement Through Phenotyping

Meeting future corn production challenges and demands will require the development and management of corn hybrids that will perform well in spite of increased weather variability.  To address this challenge, an ambitious wide scale plant phenotyping (trait measurement) initiative was launched which will expand our understanding of the interacting roles of corn genetics with crop environments on corn performance.  Iowa Corn continues to leverage the investment in the corn genome to gain understanding of how the corn genes translate into traits, to improve our ability to get more productivity off an acre of ground.  By measuring traits of economic importance (e.g. yield, drydown, standability) along with environmental conditions and the genotype of hybrids, we can begin to draw associations between genotypes and the ultimate performance of hybrids in the field.

The key objectives of this research are to:

  • Develop a public corn phenotype database to allow study of mechanisms by which genes interact with the environment to influence traits
  • Develop new methods and devices to analyze the relationship between genetic, trait and environmental data to predict performance of plants
  • Be able to predict the growth and yield of a corn plant given the genetic background and the environment
  • Convert the corn genome sequence into functional knowledge, and
  • Provide management advice to farmers on specific hybrids

Three major initiatives in which ICPB has had a leadership role include:

In addition, the Iowa Corn Growers Association also plays an active role in advocating and lobbying for federal research funding for this avenue of research.  ICGA has been successful in obtaining funding for Genomes to Fields in the USDA-ARS budget, and in getting the Agricultural Genome To Phenome Initiative into the 2018 Farm Bill with subsequent funding appropriations totaling $6.5 million to date.

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