Billions of dollars and crops are being lost to drying high moisture grain; drought, cold, and salt susceptibility; and to processing poor quality grain. Maize is a model crop for adaptation to climate changes. Breeding for adaptation is best done under challenging environmental conditions where strengths and weaknesses are quickly identified and most stable genotypes are selected. The North Dakota State University (NDSU) maize breeding program is strategically located to develop products under extreme weather. It currently exploits northern U.S. environments that allow screening for adaptation traits that are as important as yield. The program focuses on germplasm adaptation and its integration into cultivar development, particularly those carrying unique alleles not present in the B73 and NAM genomes. There is a need for projects that are vital to agricultural research and will meet present and future demands of superior genotypes tolerant to climate changes in the U.S. and abroad.
adaptation; cultivar development; genetic diversity; maize breeding; NDSU EarlyGEM