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Triticale: México´s lost opportunity.

April 13, 2016

Since the induction of the CIMMYT triticale breeding program in 1964, the improvement in realized grain yield has been remarkable. In 1968, at Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, in northwest Mexico, the highest yielding triticale line produced 2.4 t/ha. Today, CIMMYT has released high yielding spring triticale lines (e.g. Pollmer-2) which have surpassed the 10 t/ha yield barrier under optimum production conditions.When crossing wheat and rye, wheat is used as the female parent and rye as the male parent (pollen donor). The resulting hybrid is sterile and must be treated with colchicine to induce polyploidy and thus the ability to reproduce itself.

The primary producers of triticale are Poland, Germany, Belarus, France and Russia. In 2014, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 17.1 million tons were harvested in 37 countries across the world.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center triticale improvement program wanted to improve food production and nutrition in developing countries. Triticale has potential in the production of bread and other food products, such as cookies, pasta, pizza dough and breakfast cereals. The protein content is higher than that of wheat, although the glutenin fraction is less. The grain has also been stated to have higher levels of lysine than wheat. Assuming increased acceptance, the milling industry will have to adapt to triticale, as the milling techniques employed for wheat are unsuited to triticale. As a feed grain, triticale is already well established and of high economic importance. It has received attention as a potential energy crop, and research is currently being conducted on the use of the crop's biomass in bioethanol production.

Triticale´s star promoter, laureate Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as "Father of the Green Revolution" that saved billion lives, will be embarrassed of Mexico's Governmental decision to forget this contribution, that was primarily set to enhance cereal yield in Mexico's poor and marginal environments, help empower and make a sustainable agriculture for low income farmers. The use of hybrid triticales as a strategy for enhancing yield in favourable, as well as marginal, environments has proven successful over time.

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