Breeding maize for traditional and organic agriculture
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Breeding maize (Zea mays L.) for traditional agriculture can increase quality and added value of agricultural products and allow the recovery of traditional foods. The objectives of this work were to evaluate improved open-pollinated populations under organic and conventional agriculture in order to determine the effects of selection for yield and flour yield and the relationship between agronomic and quality traits under both cropping systems. We have selected open-pollinated maize populations for flour yield and bakery quality under organic conditions, improved them under conventional conditions and evaluated the breeding programs under organic and conventional conditions. Breeding was efficient for grain and flour yield under organic agriculture for Meiro (an open-pollinated population with black grains) but not for the other populations neither in organic nor in conventional conditions. Yield ranks of varieties were moderately correlated under both conditions, and genotype × environment interaction (GE) was significant for most traits when the analyses of variance were made over all environments but also when organic and conventional environments were separated. GE was higher under organic agriculture. Correlations between traits were higher under conventional agriculture and there were important discrepancies between correlations in organic and conventional agriculture. We concluded that selection under conventional agriculture was efficient for one population under organic agriculture. Selection under the target environment could increase the possibilities of success.
KeywordsOrganic agriculture Yield Quality Germplasm Breeding
Research was supported by the Spanish Plan for Research and Development (project code AGL2010-22254), the Basque Government, and the Diputación Provincial de Pontevedra.
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