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Announcement of PRI-GREEEN Funding

The Plant Resilience Institute and MSU’s Project GREEEN have partnered to fund seed projects focused on plant resilience of Michigan crops. Two projects were funded focused on dry beans and tar spot of corn.

Investigating the drought tolerance of dry bean cultivars adapted to organic production in MI
James DeDecker,  Dr. James Kelly, Dr. Andrew Wiersma
Of the many specialty crops produced in Michigan, dry edible beans are expected to be relatively climate resilient.  The Bean Breeding and Genetics Lab at MSU, led by Dr. James Kelly, is teaming up with staff at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center to investigate how organic dry beans respond to environmental stresses predicted by climate models.  Their project will expose several varieties of dry edible beans to nitrogen and drought stress, and monitor how the beans respond in terms of nitrogen fixation and yield.  This research will be conducted in East Lansing and Chatham, MI to understand how current and future climate conditions might affect how and where dry beans are produced in our state.

James DeDecker          Climate station

Screening for resistance to maize tar spot, a new disease for MI
Drs. Martin Chilvers, Addie Thompson, Maninder Singh
Tar spot is a fungal disease that causes black lesions on maize leaves. Though it was first described in Mexico in the early 1900s, it had not been reported in the US until 2015, in Illinois and Indiana. First observation in Michigan occurred in Allegan County in 2016. In 2017 a field in Allegan County was severely diseased, with estimated loss of 40 bu/A. By 2018, tar spot had been confirmed in 26 Michigan counties, with multiple reports of losses in specific fields up to 50 bu/A across five counties. Nothing is currently known about resistance to the disease in our temperate germplasm. We, the Chilvers, Thompson and Singh labs, propose to work collaboratively to find long- and short-term solutions for tar spot by screening diverse germplasm for resistance, while concurrently screening current hybrids, studying basic epidemiology to understand the pathogen and plant infection, and conducting fungicide trials.

Field in Allegan County, Michigan          maize leaves