PSS’s Krishna Jagadish is key part of national $1.6M USCP sorghum project
By: Allen Ramsey
Texas Tech is taking the lead in one of the largest projects ever funded by the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), a producer-funded organization dedicated to improving the sorghum industry through research, promotion and education. The United States is the world's largest producer of grain sorghum, having produced approximately 454 million bushels last year.
Krishna Jagadish, the Thornton Distinguished Chair in the Department of Plant & Soil Science, received $1.6 million in funding in partnership with Texas A&M, Kansas State, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service locations in Lubbock and Manhattan, Kansas, and industry partners. Haydee Laza, an assistant professor of plant physiology, is a co-investigator on the project as well.
"This is an unprecedented amount of funding from a strong friend of Davis College, and it will allow us to move forward in improving grain sorghum to the benefit of us all,” said Davis College Interim Dean Cindy Akers. Titled, “Transforming grain sorghum's climatic yield potential and grain quality through trait-based ideotype breeding,” the project is designed to maximize the sorghum crop by determining effective trait combinations for different environments.
“The project brings together major public sorghum improvement programs in the U.S.,” Jagadish said. “The trans-disciplinary team aims to achieve the project goals by integrating agronomy, crop physiology, breeding, machine learning and crop and climate modeling.”
Over the course of the project, researchers led by Jagadish, hope to develop trait-based ideotype sorghum hybrids specifically targeted to thrive in water-deficient areas and in areas considered favorable for growing sorghum.
“For the first time in modern history, we have an opportunity to reimagine the architecture of the plant and how it operates,” USCP CEO Tim Lust said. “From drought tolerance to photosynthetic efficiency, this stellar team of physiology experts will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of a more productive, efficient sorghum plant for our farmers.”
The project is scheduled to last five years and incorporate a number of students seeking both master's and doctoral degrees, giving it the added benefit of helping train the next generation of leaders in the sorghum industry.
“This project is timely and will be a difference-maker as we strive to improve crop resilience and feed the world,” said Plant and Soil Science Department Chair Glen Ritchie. “The collaborators on this project are top experts in sorghum physiology and stress tolerance and they will make a global impact with their success.”
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Interim Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1003NM22 / For more information about the Sorghum Checkoff Program and other sorghum-related research projects please click here
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