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in cooperation with colleagues in state agricultural experiment stations, have developed new wheat varieties that are 1.5 to 2.0 percent higher in protein than standard varieties. This allows for an improved protein diet at no additional cost to the consumer. While there is an ever-present danger of new races of wheat stem rust developing, wheat breeders have now developed varieties highly resistant to this serious disease. Without such resistance, it is estimated that production of spring wheat would be reduced by about 40 percent, and the annual savings to wheat growers from resistance to this disease alone is about $1 billion. It is estimated that varieties resistant to common smut, another wheat disease, save wheat growers $1 million in a year in the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The new Pima S-5 cotton variety, a high-yielding variety adapted to mechanical harvesting and jointly introduced with the States of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in 1975, is now used on 99 percent of the Pima cotton acreage in the United States. Cotton from this single variety had an annual farm value of over $50 million in 1980. We also have initiated cooperative research programs to improve guayule, jojoba, and other specialty crops that might have potential as new crops. Guayule is a native plant that produces latex, which can be used as a substitute for rubber, and jojoba produces an oil with characteristics similar to the oil of the sperm whale. From preliminary data, we now know that these natural plant products can be significantly increased through the use of breeding and genetics. Small farmers have also benefitted from the development of improved varieties. The USDA has introduced new varieties of sweet corn that are resistant to the corn earworm, disease-resistant shipping varieties of lettuce, potato varieties for the Eastern United States, and disease-resistant strawberry varieties that allow home production of strawberries throughout the Eastern and Southern States. Changes in the nation's agriculture will create new challenges for crop improvement research. Agricultural systems are rapidly being expanded into lands which have reduced soil fertility and which are subject to climatic extremes. As a nation, we are learning to reduce indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides and make greater use of available sources of genetic resistance to plant pests. The Department continues its concern for providing Americans with an increasing variety of high quality food crops the year round and, to the extent possible, increasing the nutritional value of all crops. There is also the need for American agriculture to help feed an increasing world population. To meet the challenges of the future, we must continue crop improvement programs which stress yield, quality, nutritional factors, pest resistance, tolerance to environmental stresses, and variety adaptation to the many different production areas of this country. Continuance of crop improvement programs will help the Department achieve its missions and goals relating to increased agricultural production efficiency, improved use of this country's land and water resources, improved health and nutrition of our people, increased exports of agricultural products, and improvement of our environment.
Mr. WHITTEN. According to page 163 of the Notes, you are requesting an increase of $12,883,000 for research on plant production efficiency. In support of this you make the statement that “Statistics continue to show increases in total crop productivity, but maximum yield levels are not increasing and our annual rate of increase of agricultural productivity appears to have declined recently." Would you please spell this out in a little greater detail and cite any figures you may have to support this statement?
Dr. BERTRAND. The introduction of new improved plant varieties, improved methods of pest control, and improved cultural practices have all contributed to increasing crop yields during the last 50 years. During the last decade, however, increases in crop yields have been less pronounced. For the six major grain crops, for example, the average yearly yield increase during the period from 1930 to 1969 was 2.9 percent whereas the average yearly yield increase during the 1970's was only 1.4 percent. The average yearly increase for corn dropped from 4.4 percent to 2.1 percent, from 2.6 percent to 1.8 percent for wheat, from 2.5 percent to 1.4 percent for rye, from 2.4 percent to 1.5 percent for barley, from 2.0 percent to 0.8 percent for oats, and from 2.6 percent to 0.9 percent for rice. There are similar reductions in the rate of increased yield for other crops.
There are several reasons for this apparent plateauing of crop yields. More marginal land is also being brought into production which reduces the average production figures. Increased rates of fertilizer application often will increase crop yields but with the increasing cost of chemical fertilizers, it may not be economical for farmers to strive for maximum yields. Even though we can predict still further increases in crop yields, there obviously is a theoretical upper limit of yield with our present production systems. We may be approaching this upper limit on some of our crops, but there may be future breakthroughs in the areas of photosynthetic efficiency, mechanisms of gene transfer and new production systems.
TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL RESEARCH Mr. WHITTEN. You are requesting an increase of $1,160,000 for tropical and subtropical research. You say this increase will be used to support existing research programs at various locations. Would you please spell out for the record the work that is being carried on by the Mayaguez Institute of Tropical Agriculture at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico?
Dr. BERTRAND. The research program of SEA-AR at the Mayaguez Institute of Tropical Agriculture-MITA-covers an array of agricultural problems related to U.S. needs in the temperate zone and in the tropics. MITA also has an important international role in developing and providing technology that will assist developing countries to strengthen their own food production capabilities. Much of this research is conducted cooperatively with the University of Puerto Rico Agricultural Experiment Station at Mayaguez. MITA operates winter nurseries for increases and for conversion of tropical crop germplasm to temperate types useful throughout the U.S. These activities on corn, sorghum, pearl millet, rice, peanuts, cotton, soybean, forage legumes, dry beans, and other vegetables provide a unique opportunity to breeders in the U.S. to speed the development of new lines, hybrids and varieties by halving the time needed to develop a new variety.
In addition, active research projects at MITA that are related to broader needs of the United States are as follows: Breeding tropical sorghum and corn; bean improvement for disease resistance and for high protein and nutritional efficiency; breeding multiple disease resistant cowpeas and the improvement of other grain legumes for the tropics; evaluation of tropical species for the production of leaf proteins for feed; the introduction, evaluation, propagation, distribution, and popularization of the best and often neglected tropical fruits and nuts; evaluation of okra seed as a new protein-oil crop; breeding and cultural research on sweet potatoes and other tropical root crops and vegetables; and development of cropping and production systems of special use to the small farmer. MITA in cooperation with the American Cacao Research Institute established and maintains a disease-free collection of cacao. The experiment station maintains other collections of spices, tropical fruits and nuts, and ornamental species.
The Tropical Tick Research Laboratory, a sub-unit of the U.S. Livestock Insects Laboratory, Kerrville, Texas, has recently been. established at MITA to provide necessary research information and support to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which has initiated a cooperative program with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to eradicate ticks from the island.
Mr. WHITTEN. You also plan to initiate work to meet the specific needs of American Samoa, Micronesia, and Guam and the Northern Marianas. Please describe where this work will be done and the type of work you plan to undertake.
Dr. BERTRAND. Research will be conducted at, and in close cooperation with, the Agricultural Experiment Station in Guam, and the two new Agricultural Experiment Stations in American Samoa and Micronesia, and in the Northern Marianas. Scientists from SEA-AR and other state agricultural experiment stations will closely interact with agricultural scientists at these locations. Research will be on the improvement of tropical food crops and livestock production and protection. Also included will be research on soil and water management practices for tropical soils that will increase fertility, reduce erosion, and provide long-term productiv
BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF INSECT AND WEED PESTS Mr. WHITTEN. In connection with biological control you state that there are about 30 examples in the United States in which biological control has solved insect and weed problems. Would you please spell out for the record each of these 30 instances?
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