Herbicide rates, germplasms (was information based farming)

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Sat Sep 12 17:21:51 EST 1992

In article <1992Sep12.102505.6705 at iscsvax.uni.edu> klier at iscsvax.uni.edu writes:
>samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu (S. A. Modena) writes:
>... Post emergergence herbicides are
>> applied at the rate of 0.33 to 1.75 PINTS-per-ACRE for liquids and up
>> to 2 OZ-per-ACRE for solids.  So weight 30 grams of salt and go 
>> distribute it (as an aqueous solution) over an acre lawn...then
>> come back and lick the grass: can you taste the salt ?  :^)
>Uh, bit of a straw man here.  Spray 30 grams of botulinin and lick the grass;
>you'll get a different result!  ;^)

Actually, allow me to "lick" fewer than a dozen *molecules* of botulin toxin
and I'll be in serious trouble is about 1/2 hour!

>I'm not anti-pesticide-- this just reminds me a (deceased) weed scientist
>who used to drink a glass of 2,4-D to "prove" it was OK to use.   (Gack!)

That's called being macho.  ;^)  In certain circumstances, machismo can
be a "self-limiting" life style, so to speak.

>> Well, this might be your approach, but seed companies like Pioneer Hi-bred
>> International are more sophisticated and pragmatic than to encourage
>> this sort of practice.
>Oh?  How about the Texas Male Sterile Cytoplasm fiasco in the 1970's?
>How many farmers sweated the southern corn leaf blight epidemic?  How much
>did Pioneer and Garst and all the other Big Guys spend on a southern
>hemisphere winter season seed increase to have enough non-TMS seed for
>the next season?

Actually, I understand that it was scarier than that.  Marcus Zuber told
me that fortunately Jack Beckett ( of the male cytoplasm restorer
study so widely cited ) had moved alternative cytoplasms into some
of the favored (at the time) elite inbreds and there was enough starter
seed to distribute packets around if needed
to assure the hurry up switch over in hybrids mass production.  I believe
that some companies had also converted favorite inbreds to C and
S, but were not using them because "T" was so much more reliably
"male sterile."

The loss in 1970 and 1971 amounted to $1,000,000,000 dollars (who
knows what that is today).  

I have a lot of respect for breeders (and seed companies contain other
positions too ) being savey in matters of germplasm diversity.

>> In fact, it's the small seed producer that buys generic hybrids made from
>> public elite inbreds from foundation seed companies, that can make your
>> senario come true.  Every garage operator is bagging up B73 x Mo17 (or
>> whatever is most popular now) under his own label.
>> Have you looked at how many lines Pioneer offers for a given geographic
>> region?  Are they carbon copies, differing by one gene?  I don't think
>> so. 
>IMHO, one of the major problems we are facing in agriculture is the relatively
>narrow genetic base of *most* of our crops.  Look at John Doebley's
>work with the corn-belt corns.  Most (75+%?) of the sorghum seed in this
>country has one particular cultivar (Redlan, if memory serves) in its
>pedigree.  These lines are certainly not near-isogenic, but they ARE only
>a tiny fraction of the gene pool.

In maize, it is a couple or three companies that engage is serious
gerplasm broadening.  It's expensive....and having dealt directly
with a number of non-Corn Belt races of maize...I know it is a challenging
problem.  In maize, it isn't that there isn't plenty of diversity.
It's whether the diversity can be incorporated without seriously
unhinging the productive vigor that has been achieved with the 
current elites.

Major Goodman, here at NCSU, has devoted his efforts to showing that
it can be done.  That some tropical races or composites or extracted
inbreds can be the basis for incorporating new diversity into
selectable populations that can perform "North of the Border."  CIMMYT
is an agent for precursor materials.  

>Kay Klier  Biology Dept  UNI

Steve Modena
|     In person:  Steve Modena     AB4EL                           |
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