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UKAID Department for International Development (R4D) 1999

Genetic enhancement of feed quality and quantity in sorghum and pearl millet

Genetic Feed Sorghum Millet

UKAID Department for International Development (R4D)

Titre : Genetic enhancement of feed quality and quantity in sorghum and pearl millet

Pays : India

Projet de recherche pour le Développement : R7258(C)

DFID Programme : CGIAR Competitive Research Facility and Holdback Funds

Organismes de mise en œuvre  : Lead Institutes : Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) ; International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) ; International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya (ILRI) ; Rowett Research Institute

Durée : Start Date : 01-04-1999 — End Date : 30-03-2003

Objectifs  : To identify genotypes of sorghum and pearl millet to be used to develop new germplasm with higher biomass and nutritive value in the residues without sacrificing grain yield.

Livestock production in India is mainly a small-scale rural activity that forms an integral part of an age-old system of mixed farming. Outputs from these crop-livestock systems have a significant impact on employment generation, rural poverty reduction and the improvement of sustainable livelihoods. An estimated 630 million people live in the rural areas, and 55% of them are resource-poor smallholders who raise over 50% of the cattle, bufffalo and small ruminants in India. Livestock plays a multi-purpose role in these systems and accounts for 15% to 40% of total household income. Although per capita consumption of livestock products in India remains low, poor rural consumers spend up to 15% of their budget on these products. In the next two decades the national demand for mlk and meat is expected to increase ten- and eight-fold, respectively. If these demands are to be met livestock production must increase, particularly in the mixed farming systems. A lack of feed of high nutritive value (quality) throughout the year is one of the major constraints to increased livestock productivity. As the area of common property resources for grazing continues to decline in India with more arable cultivation, the dependence on crop residues (roughage remaining after harvest) and agro-industrial by-products will increase. Genetic enhancement is one practical strategy to increase the quantity and nutritive value of cereal crop residues. For example, quality traits such as dry matter digestibility and water-soluble carbohydrate content have been rated consistently as the highest priorities for improvement in forages. However, there are presently few genetic improvement programmes for cereal crops that include selection for the quantity and quality of their residues for ruminant feed. In 1996 the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International and Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) initiated collaborative research in India on the identification and quantification of genetic variation in quality traits in sorghum and pearl millet. However, this genetic variation can only be exploited cost-effectively through the use of molecular techniques to locate markers for the large number of genes responsible for improved quality and quantity of crop residues. To date, genetic markers have not been identified for selection strategies aimed at desirable crop residue traits. However, molecular marker technology allowing marker-assisted selection by the plant breeder is available. A major aim of the project will be to apply existing markers to the tagging of QTL that contribute significantly to the observed genetic variation in digestibility traits. The molecular markers generated and mapped will be deployed to detect QTLs for target traits. The heritable traits for nutritive value in sorghum and pearl millet will be identified from the widest range of plant types available in the gene-pool, in both germplasm collections at the ICRISAT and the national agricultural research systems (NARS) and farmer fields. The identification of the heritable traits and the existing genotypes that carry these characteristics will enable a final selection to be made in multi-locational trials on station and on farm. Subsequently, these genotypes will be available for the development of new dual-purpose cultivars by conventional plant breeding techniques and biotechnology. Such cultivars could also be used in semi-arid regions in other continents such as sub-Saharan Africa.

Total Cost to DFID : £200,000

Présentation : Recherche for Developàment (R4D)

Page publiée le 10 juillet 2021