MSU units combine to improve services

Thursday, May 26, 2011
By: Karen Brasher

Mississippi State University recently merged two units to further strengthen efficiency and research efforts.


The Mississippi Variety Testing and Mississippi Foundation Seed Stocks, both research support units in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, have been merged. The two units have worked together for more than a decade.

Brad Burgess, currently the variety testing unit's director of research support, will oversee the newly created Mississippi Variety Testing and Foundation Seed.

Mississippi Variety Testing evaluates the performance of the state's commercially available varieties of corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, peanuts and oats. Variety trials provide unbiased, comprehensive information that assists farmers in making decisions about variety and management.

"The annual variety trials examine yield as well as other measures, such as maturity date, reaction to disease and herbicides, and plant characteristics," said Reuben Moore, associate director of MAFES. "Variety trials are conducted throughout the state so growers can see performance based on their geographic area."

Variety trial results are available online. Established in 1959, the Foundation Seed Unit provides certified seed producers with a consistent, high-quality source for both newly developed and existing public plant varieties. The unit starts with breeder seed and efficiently multiplies it to become foundation seed, which then becomes the basis for certified seed production.

The Foundation Seed unit produces several varieties of clover, rice, and sweet sorghum. The unit also produces Eastern Gamma grass, Japanese Millet, Partridge Pea and Wild Soybean.

"Foundation Seed is an important source of quality seed for rice growers," Moore said. "As new varieties are introduced, seed producers have a source that they know will provide a quality product."

Moore said the functions of the two units will remain the same, but the merger will improve efficiencies and strengthen services to producers throughout the state.

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