Dual-purpose barley genotypes for North Africa region – 2021 Report
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Miguel Sanchez-Garcia. (31/12/2021). Dual-purpose barley genotypes for North Africa region – 2021 Report.
In the Drylands of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, integrated crop and livestock farming is the predominant system. Traditional small-scale farmers need to maximize the productivity of their farms while coping with drought, heat, pests and diseases under a Climate Change scenario that affects them particularly. For these famers, cereal forages, stubble and straw are the main feed source for small ruminants during summer and winter seasons (Ryan et al., 2008) and with fodder and forage prices increasing (FAO 2018), breeding and growing cereals targeting more than just grain yield is a necessity. In this scenario, barley can be considered the perfect crop to increase food and feed security by intensifying animal and crop production per unit area in a context where arable land is limited. Strategies such as dualpurpose are particularly profitable for barley, that produces higher forage dry matter with lower yield and straw penalty. The combination of barley forage, straw and grain profits can be 12% superior to those of other cereals and to strategies were only grain is targeted in regional environments with more than 300mm (Ates et al., 2018). Recent studies have shown that the ICARDA Global Barley Breeding Program was able to develop new dual-purpose barley genotypes that produce up to 30% more forage than the best commercial checks (Verma 2019; Sanchez-Garcia 2021). Although these lines suffered yield and straw production penalties due to the dual-purpose management that hindered the system’s profitability due to the typical drought and scatter rainfall pattern of the Mediterranean areas, elite lines with superior forage production and limited (8%) yield penalty could be found. In the present study we aim to test a set of 37 elite ICARDA barley genotypes and 3 commercial checks including 9 lines selected in past years for their superior forage production and regeneration capacity in the field in Morocco under simulated grazing and conventional conditions to determine their forage production, yield and biomass regeneration capacity and straw quality.