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Evaluation of promising maize materials in 20 Mexican highland locations

Nearly 30 attendees from public and private sector institutions in Mexico gathered on 03 February 2010 to discuss hybrid maize for Mexican highlands. The meeting was part of the project “Increasing the productivity and profitability of maize in the State of Mexico,” which has been in operation since 2007 and is jointly implemented by USDA, SAGARPA, and CIMMYT. The project strives to explore and identify the best hybrids, not only for yield, but for quality properties as well.

From trials by CIMMYT, ICAMEX (an advanced research institution in Mexico State), and the Mexican National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture, and Livestock (INIFAP), the project selected three new hybrids in 2009 to promote: one from CIMMYT, one from a national program, and one from a private seed company. Discussion at the meeting focused on how these promising hybrids should be promoted in 2010. The meeting, which was coordinated by José Luis Torres, senior researcher with the Global Maize Program, also included discussions about trials in farmers’ fields; a survey of variety preferences among farmers; trials for advanced hybrid testing; breeding and production of seed; quality analyses; and collaboration with institutions working with the genetic breeding of white, yellow, and blue grain for the Mexican highlands.

For the CIMMYT hybrid selected, ICAMEX expressed interest in releasing and promoting it. They also are preparing new farmerlevel trials to further evaluate more high-yielding hybrids with desirable characteristics, such as good grain quality, cooking time, and nixtamalizacion.