Breeding for fall armyworm resistance in maize: an update from CIMMYT
Staff from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Agriculture Victoria, Food and Fibre Gippsland, and Bowen Gumlu Growers Association joined B.M. Prasanna (Maize Program Director at CIMMYT & CGIAR Plant Health Initiative Lead) on 19th October 2023 to learn about CIMMYT’s efforts and experiences with fall armyworm management at the global scale, and to build partnerships between CIMMYT and Australian institutions for future collaboration on plant health management.
At the online meeting, Prasanna shared CIMMYT’s research and development on FAW management in maize, including breeding for insect-pest resistance, screening maize germplasm against FAW under artificial infestation, and collaborative approaches on integrated pest management of FAW.
Key points from the discussion:
- Collaborative efforts are important in managing FAW, and international R&D collaboration is as important as country-level research efforts.
- CIMMYT has made significant progress in breeding FAW-tolerant maize hybrids (with native genetic resistance); three such hybrids have been released by national partners in Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, South Sudan, and Ghana, and several more countries in Africa are in the pipeline for release and deployment of these hybrids.
- Insect resistance management is critical wherever Bt maize varieties have been already released or in the process of release.
- Both conventionally derived and Bt-based resistant maize varieties have their own importance in FAW management.
- Need to intensify breeding activities for developing elite maize germplasm with FAW resistance together with other important traits, and fast-track deployment of FAW-tolerant elite maize hybrids.
- Possible to achieve synergies between host plant resistance and other IPM approaches for sustainable management of FAW.
- Researchers interested in accessing germplasm from CIMMYT’s breeding program can source through a standard material transfer agreement.
Dr Prasanna responded to several queries from the participants of the meeting. Australian researchers and CIMMYT showed interest in further research collaboration. Dr Ramesh Raj Puri, DAF Extension Officer, facilitated the meeting.