ISSUE DATE: 03/26/2012
By Larry Dreiling
Sorghum is a crop well suited for conditions often considered unfavorable for other crops. While it is known for being hardy under relatively dry environments, sorghum still needs moisture to survive.
Improving sorghum yields under these conditions requires the development of new germplasm that can withstand these tough situations.
That's the job of Ramasamy (Ram) Perumal, Ph.D., sorghum breeder for Kansas State University Research and Extension. Perumal, based at the K-State Agricultural Research Center-Hays, is scouring gene banks around the world to find parental lines to offer commercial breeders seeking drought- and cold-tolerant traits to add to their hybrid lines.
"Day by day, because of global warming, water scarcity keeps going up," Perumal said. "In Kansas, most of the growers want to go with drought-loving crops. They use minimum-till and no-till. They want to spend minimum amounts for inputs. From that, they want a good level of output. In this situation, sorghum is their best option."
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