To discuss possible expansion of MasAgro activities to include maize for use as forage and silage, the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) in collaboration with MasAgro organized the First National Workshop on Forage Maize during 22-23 January 2013 in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico. The workshop was coordinated by Axel Tiessen, CINVESTAV, and attended by 134 participants from INIFAP, milk industry, public universities (University of Guadalajara, Colegio de Postgraduados, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, and others), CIMMYT, seed industry, and CINVESTAV.
While MasAgro is currently focusing primarily on maize for grain, the program seeks to expand its activities to better reflect its holistic approach to maize and to support all its uses in Mexico, including forage. The workshop was organized to identify the needs of the milk industry regarding maize silage, as well as the needs of small-scale farmers who use maize for several different purposes. “One of the major traits the milk industry is looking for is dry matter and starch percentage. However, it is a little more complicated for small-scale farmers, as they use maize for various purposes: grain for tortillas or pozole, leaves for tamales, and stover for animal feed.
Therefore, breeding for small-scale farmers differs significantly from breeding for the milk industry,” Félix San Vicente, leader of International Maize Improvement Consortium (IMIC)-Latin America explains the complexity of maize breeding in Mexico.
During the meeting, experts and industry representatives discussed not only what has been done so far, but also what the necessary future steps are. The discussions are expected to result in further collaboration of MasAgro and other institutions, for which MasAgro is currently receiving project proposals.