CARDI has been involved in cereals and grain legumes research and development since the late 1980s with the development of the rice variety ‘CARDI 70’. Our role in this area has become even more critical in light of the current global shortages and high prices for these commodities. At present our work on these commodities is confined to Belize and it is centred on evaluating and selecting for farmers varieties of corn, and soybean and beans for productivity and quality.
The evaluation of yellow and white corn hybrids to identify which varieties perform better than those currently being planted by large scale producers. Yellow and white corn varieties were also evaluated to identify those that perform better than the local varieties planted by small-scale producers. Work on evaluating the performance of a new bio-pesticide for the management of the fall army worm, which has emerged more recently as a major pest in corn in Belize, was also completed.
Production and marketing of quality seed of the open pollinated yellow corn variety CARDI YC-001 (introduced as Trinidad 7728) to meet the seed demand of small and medium-sized producers continued.
Development of handling and storage systems to reduce post-harvest losses at the small farm level is also ongoing.
During 2009, several trials were conducted with highlights presented below:
Several trials were conducted on open pollinated white corn (Zea mays L) germplasm which were evaluated at the CARDI Field Station, Belize. 13% moisture content. All entries yielded more than 2,400 kg per ha with an average of 5,302 kg per ha of shelled grain per plot, with the entry Local White Corn (Jalacte) recording the lowest extrapolated yield of 2,451 kg per ha, while CARDI YC 001 recorded the highest yield of 6,755 kg per ha. The CIMMYT entry S03TLlWQAB01 recorded an extrapolated yield of 6,359 kg per ha.
The Yellow Hybrid Corn evaluation trial comprised 12 entries provided by a local seed supplier. Two entries, Pioneer 30K75 and Pioneer 30F83, had significantly lower plants while they also recorded the lowest grain yield. Pioneer P4082W recorded the highest extrapolated yield of 7,607 kg per ha.
A study was conducted to assess the efficacy of an insect growth regulator (IGR) Lubaczuron (chlorfluazuron) against Spodoptera frugiperda, the fall army worm in corn, compared with commercial formulations of one pyrethroid, one organophosporus, and another IGR. Results revealed that chlorfluazuron was just as, or more effective than the insecticides currently being used against fall army worm, and it can play an important role in reducing the losses to yields in corn.
On request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, CARDI conducted a trial to evaluate red and black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) germplasm, with a view to marketing the commodity to the neighbouring Central American Countries. Among the red beans, the variety Cardenal yielded the highest (1.336 kg per plot), while among the black beans a local entry had the highest yield of 1,259 kg per plot. A trial was also established with a view to supplying farmers in Grenada with high quality open pollinated corn. This will allow farmers to provide their own planning materials. Three varieties were evaluated and YC-001 was identified as the best variety in terms of cob length and diameter, plant height, ear height and seed weight.