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A study of the scope for the application of crop genomics and breeding to increase nitrogen economy within cereal and rapeseed based food chains. - AR0714

Description
The overall Objective of the project is to assess the scope for crop genomics and breeding to increase N economy within cereal and rapeseed-based food-chains and to inform DEFRA on the potential, feasibility and likelihood of success of further public investment to modify nitrogen-use efficiency and protein content and composition in support of the sustainable development of the UK arable sector. The project will review the scientific literature and consult with experts to identify priority traits for increasing N economy. The capacity of current genomics-based technologies to aid in the manipulation of these traits will be evaluated together with prospects for further advances. The plant breeding industry will be consulted to assess the critical success factors influencing the development of varieties with increased nitrogen-use efficiency or those that can be managed to produce low feed-seed protein content. Information on realistic margins for achievable trait ranges will be utilized in an analysis of the potential impacts on the environment and farm incomes. The primary use of project results will be to guide DEFRA research policy. Preliminary results will be communicated to DEFRA Crop Genetic Improvement Networks and DEFRA at two-monthly intervals. Results will guide research strategies to meet DEFRA policy objectives on efficient and competitive agricultural systems that sustain and enhance the environment, and protecting and improving the rural environment and conserving and enhancing biodiversity. The identification of traits to increase N economy within cereal and rapeseed-based food-chains, and the quantification of trade-offs for yield and quality performance, will be of great value to breeders. Information on new ideotypes and genetic diversity in UK germplasm should provide the basis to develop strategies for future progress through LINK consortia. Project results should, in the medium term, lead to a reduction in N input requirements through progress in plant breeding. Hence the competitiveness of the UK industry will be improved, with increased returns to the UK cropping industry. Results will guide prioritisation of research topics, and define the bounds of knowledge usable in practice in collaborative research with the breeding industry.
Objective
The project will succeed in achieving its objectives only if its activities are closely managed and well integrated with the needs of both supporting the sustainable development of the UK arable sector and the breeding industry.

The Overall Objective of the project is to assess the scope for crop genomics and breeding to increase N economy within cereal and rapeseed-based food-chains and to inform DEFRA on the potential, feasibility and likelihood of success of further public investment to modify N-use efficiency and protein content and composition in support of the sustainable development of the UK arable sector. This will be achieved by means of the following specific objectives:

Objective 1. Review of genetic variation in N-use efficiency and protein content and composition.
Objective 1a. To review the current state of knowledge, in cereal and rapeseed crops, on genetic variation in N-use efficiency and protein content and composition, including an analysis of: (i) root N capture, (ii) plant N metabolism, and partitioning and storage and (iii) seed protein content and composition.
Objective 1b. To analyse crop varietal performance data sets under low N conditions for differences in ability to maintain production and quality with lower N inputs.
Objective 1c. Using the findings in 1a and 1b, to prioritise traits for increasing N-use efficiency and modifying seed protein content and composition, and to assess the potential of models to identify plant ideotypes to increase N economy within cereal and rapeseed-based food-chains in future studies.

Objective 2. Review of genomics-based technologies To review current genomics-based technologies in relation to their application for increasing N-use efficiency and modifying seed protein content and composition in cereal and rapeseed crops and the prospects for further advances.

Objective 3. Consultation with the breeding industry To consult with the plant breeding industry to assess the critical success factors influencing the scientific and economic feasibility of developing varieties with greater N-use efficiency or those that can be managed to produce low feed-seed protein content, through the application of genomics or conventional breeding methods.

Objective 4. Environmental and economic potential-impact analysis To comment on the potential impacts of genetically improving N-use efficiency and seed protein and composition of cereal and rape-seed crops, utilizing and referring to the results of the analyses in Objective 1, on :- the environment, including:
(i) N emissions (leaching and denitrification) from fertilizers and livestock manure and potential impact on groundwater, global warming potential (GWP) and biodiversity; and
(ii) changes in energy inputs associated with crop nutrition including the impact from fertilizer manufacture and farm operations and impact on GWP.- farm incomes, including: (i) costs associated with any change in crop nutrition and energy use outlined above compared to conventional crops and potential impacts on net margins.

Objective 5. Guidance to DEFRA research policy
Objective 5a. To provide input to inform research strategies of the DEFRA Crop Genetic Improvement Networks by communicating interim results at two-monthly intervals to the appropriate Networks and to DEFRA.
Objective 5b. To inform DEFRA on the potential, feasibility and likelihood of success of further public investment in applied strategic crop genomics and breeding research to increase N economy within cereal and rapeseed-based food-chains in support of the sustainable development of the UK arable sector.
Project Documents
• Final Report : "A study of the scope for the application of crop genomics and breeding to improve the N economy within cereals and rapeseed food chains".   (830k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2004

Cost: £52,952
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Nottingham, Rothamsted Research (BBSRC), National Institute of Agricultural Botany
Keywords
Agri-Environment              
Arable Farming              
Cereal Production              
Climate and Weather              
Climate Change              
Crops              
Farming              
Natural Resource Use              
Nitrates              
Nutrients              
Oilseed Rape              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops