Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO

Feed Crop Breeding Group

Toward improvement of feed crop production in Japan, we breed feed crops for broader cultivation environments such as corn with increased waterlogging tolerance, Festuca-Lolium forage grasses with superior summer stress tolerance, utilizing genomic data of the plants. For corn breeding, we develop breeding lines with increased waterlogging tolerance that is usable in poor-drained paddy, by introducing genes for high waterlogging tolerance from wild relative of corn, "teosinte". For forage grass breeding, we develop festulolium having rapid early-stage growth comparable to Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and superior stress tolerance in summer which can be harvested year-round with one-time sowing/year only, even in warm region in Japan. To support these breeding and cultivation tests, we investigate plant diseases affect these plants, and ecology and epidemiology of the causal microorganisms. Together with these research works, we also do on-site demonstration tests collaborating with other public and private sectors, as outreach activities to publicize forage cultivars we make. Through these activities breeding forage crop cultivars suitable for current climate condition in Japan, we will try to improve forage production, together with better utilization of paddy fields currently making redundancy in the country and help to achieve more stable supply of domestic grown forage.

Summer stress tolerant festulolium breeding lines growing in midsummer. (August 19, 2020, Nasushiobara city, Tochigi prefecture, Japan)