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Crop Biotech Update

CIMMYT Announces Fall Armyworm Tolerant Maize Hybrids for Africa

January 6, 2021

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has announced the successful development of three CIMMYT-derived fall armyworm-tolerant elite maize hybrids for eastern and southern Africa. The hybrids are the product of CIMMYT's intensive work over the previous three years to identify and validate sources of native genetic resistance to fall armyworm in Africa. This included screening over 3,500 hybrids in 2018 and 2019.

From the on-station screenhouse trials for fall armyworm tolerance (under artificial infestation) conducted at Kiboko during 2017-2019, CIMMYT researchers evaluated in 2020 a set of eight test hybrids (four early-maturing and four intermediate-maturing) ) against four widely used commercial hybrids (two early- and two intermediate-maturing) as checks. The trials conducted were:

  • "No choice" trial under fall armyworm artificial infestation in screenhouses in Kiboko, Kenya where each entry was planted in 40 rows in a separate screenhouse compartment ("no-choice"), and each plant infested with seven fall armyworm neonates 14 days after planting.
  • On-station trials in eastern Africa, including the eight test entries and four commercial checks conducted at six locations in Kenya during the maize cropping season in 2020. 
  • On-farm trials in Kenya: The eight test hybrids and four commercial checks were evaluated under farmers' management conditions (without any insecticide spray) at 16 on-farm sites in Kenya. 

In the "No Choice" trial, significant differences were observed between the three selected fall armyworm tolerant hybrids (FAWTH2001-2003) and the commercial benchmark hybrid checks at the vegetative and grain filling stages and at harvest. For on-station trials, no significant differences were observed between the three selected FAWTH hybrids and the commercial checks for grain yield and other important traits. Lastly, in the on-farm trials, significant differences were observed in terms of foliar damage ratings between the FAWTH hybrids and the commercial checks.

For more details, read the news article on the CIMMYT website.

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