Farmers require nitrogen-efficient varieties to achieve stable yields, even when fertilisation is limited. KWS has therefore developed maize varieties that remain productive even when the soil contains little nitrogen. However, nitrogen-efficient varieties should not only grow well when there is a lack of nutrition, but should if possible achieve good yields across a wide range of nitrogen supply.
To achieve this objective, our breeders and researchers investigate the natural variation of nitrogen efficiency and analyse the genetic make-up of different maize plants that provide stable yields even with limited fertilisation. This has shown that nitrogen-efficiency cannot simply be traced back to genetic make-up. It is rather a complex characteristic, influenced by many sections of DNA.
We therefore aim to find out through further analyses which genes or sections in DNA actually play a role. With this knowledge, our breeders can make a more targeted selection, thereby improving the nitrogen-efficiency of maize.