Project Overview and Scope

Standards and Methods

Click here to download Genomes to Fields phenotyping handbook guidelines

Project Summary Table:

Year 2014 2015 2016 (planned)
No. of experiments 23 28 36
No. of unique locations 19 24 29
No. of states/provinces 13 16 18
No. of Principal Investigators 19 25 29
No. of plots 12,678 13,650 19,300
No of unique inbreds: 380 553 291
                                 Ex-PVP 25 55 75
            Biparental Derived 302 301 44
                                Diverse 53 197 172

Hybrids Used:

Download the full list of hybrids used in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
DNA sequence data from 858 inbred parental lines was derived using Genotyping by Sequencing (GBS) techniques. An additional 206 inbred lines will be sequenced in spring 2016 to complete the set of parental inbreds for all hybrids included in experiments in 2014-2016.

2014 Pilot Scope: 

The 2014 GxE Experiment consisted of a large hybrid trialing effort and a smaller inbred trialing effort. For our first year of field experiments, 25 principal investigators in 14 states and one Canadian province tested over 900 hybrids, deployed as groups of 250 hybrids with two replications at each location. With 23 participating locations, a total of 12,678 plots were grown. As part of the 250 hybrids, a set of 10 diverse hybrids was tested across all locations; other hybrids were selected based on reasonable maturity for specific locations. Except for the set of common hybrids, testers included LH198, LH195, LH185, CG102 and PB80. In addition, 31 inbred lines were replicated 2 to 12 times over 15 locations for a total of 1,598 plots. Inbred lines tested in 2014 include recombinant inbred lines (RILs), Expired Plant Variety Protection (exPVP) inbreds and lines from collaborator breeding programs.

2015 Experiment Scope:

For the second year of evaluations, the GxE experiment expanded to include Ohio, Kansas, and South Dakota, for a total of 17 states and one Canadian province overseen by 28 principal investigators. Data were collected from 28 hybrid experiments and 25 inbred experiments in 27 unique locations. For the hybrid experiment, effort was made to maintain continuity with 2014 while expanding the diversity of materials included in 2015 experiments and increasing overlap among locations. Most locations grew 500 hybrid plots, with a total of 13,650 plots. The design was modified from 2014 to increase the number of common hybrids to 45 hybrids in all locations plus 15 regional hybrid checks in Northern, Central, and Southern regions, each replicated twice per experiment for 120 entries. The remaining 380 hybrids were mostly unreplicated, except for the most northern and most southern locations where additional hybrids were included with two replications. Each hybrid was included in at least 8 locations and selected with consideration to adaptation, diversity, and replication of alleles. Except for the set of common hybrids, testers included PHB47, PHZ51, LH82 and LH195. For the inbred experiments, 32 inbred lines were replicated twice over 17 locations in 25 experiments for a total of 1,600 plots.

2016 Plans:

In 2016, the project will continue to expand to Arkansas, Michigan, and South Carolina. In total, 36 hybrid experiments across 29 unique locations in 17 states and one Canadian province will be overseen by 29 principal investigators. Significant growth in both the number of experiments, and the addition of several “mega locations” in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, will result in up to 19,300 plots planted in 2016. New in 2016, the hybrid experiment is organized into five broad sub-experiments, summarized below:

  1. Ex-PVP Factorial (“Design 2”) Experiment: Planned ex-PVP diallels integrated with genomic prediction based on ex-PVP-derived progeny. Three sets of materials selected for appropriate maturity will be planted in 28 locations. Led by Jode Edwards (USDA ARS), Elizabeth Lee (Guelph), and Martin Bohn (U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign).
  2. Stiff Stalk GxE: Founder lines, public early releases, and ex-PVP lines, which represent a span of selection pressure, crossed by inbred line 3IIH6. The Stiff Stalk Set will be planted in 17 locations. Led by Natalia de Leon and Shawn Kaeppler (UW-Madison).
  3. Near-Isogenic Lines Experiment: Teosintes introgressions; B73/Mo17 near-isogenic lines (NILs). The NILs experiment will be planted in 17 locations. Led by Sherry Flint-Garcia (USDA-ARS) and Candice Hirsch (U. Minn.).
  4. Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM):  A highly diverse set of materials containing un-adapted, exotic germplasm to enhance genetic diversity and trait performance, and to minimize risks to production. The GEM lines are crossed with inbred line LH195 and will be planted in 17 locations.
  5. Common Hybrid Checks: A set of 50 common check hybrids and five local checks will be planted in all locations. Two smaller sets of regional common hybrids (15 early and 5 late) will be planted in locations based on maturity. Hybrid checks were selected for diversity and continuity with 2014-2015 experiments.

Environmental data collected:

Each experiment is furnished with a WatchDog 2700 Weather Station by Spectrum Technologies, Inc. The weather stations record air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, rainfall, wind speed and direction, soil temperature, and soil moisture every 30 minutes for the duration of the growing season. In addition, collaborators submit soil samples for basic nutrient and texture analysis to a central soil testing lab.

Phenotypic traits:

The following table summarizes phenotypic traits measured by each GxE experiment cooperator at each location.

Trait Abbrv. Unit Timing Description/Procedure
Green Snap (optional) GSP count and date of causal event [DD/MM/YY] before flowering Number of plants broken between ground level and top ear node before flowering
Anthesis DMF date [DD/MM/YY] at flowering Days between planting and 50% of plants of a plot exhibit anther exertion on more than half of the main tassel spike.
Silking DFF date [DD/MM/YY] at flowering Days between planting and 50% of plants of a plot show silk emergence.
Ear Height EHT centimeter [cm] and date measured [DD/MM/YY] after flowering Placing measuring stick on ground next to the root crown, “ear height” is measured at the primary ear bearing node.
Plant Height PHT centimeter [cm] and date measured [DD/MM/YY] after flowering Measure the distance between the base of a plant and  the ligule of the flag leaf.
Root Lodging RLD count before harvest Number of plants that show root lodging per plot, i.e., those stems that lean substantially to one side (> 15% from vertical). Count includes “goosenecked” plants that have “straightened up” after becoming lodged earlier in the season.
Stalk Lodging SLD count before harvest Number of plants broken between ground level and top ear node at harvest
Stand Count STC count at harvest Number of plants per plot at harvest.
Plot Weight PWT lbs at harvest Shelled grain weight per plot
Grain Moisture GMT percent [%] at harvest Water content in grain at harvest.
Test Weight TWT lbs/bu at harvest Shelled grain weight per bushel