BAYKLIMAFIT – STRATEGIES FOR THE ADAPTATION OF CROP PLANTS TO THE CLIMATE CHANGE
SP 2: Improving cold tolerance of maize
Next to wheat maize is one of the most important crop plants in Bavaria. This is caused by its high biomass yield, its low susceptibility for diseases and the broad variety for its agricultural usage. On the other hand, maize is sometimes criticized, since due to late sowing and slow early growth, there is a higher risk for soil erosion, leaching of nutrients and competition with weeds. Induced by the climate change an unstable temperature distribution and a regional increase in rain during the winter season as well as a more frequent number of heavy rain events are expected in Bavaria. Hence, improving the cold tolerance of maize through plant breeding is of increasing importance. If plant breeding is successful in developing maize suitable for earlier sowing dates and with better early vigor, the problems outlined above could be avoided. Furthermore, such plants could use a longer vegetation period for biomass production in a more efficient way and would avoid the consequences of summer droughts due to an earlier flowering time.