Evaluation of breeding populations of guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L.) for profitable production in the southwestern United States



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The rapid decline in the level of the Ogallala Aquifer in conjunction with drought has led to a reduction in commercial cultivation of traditional crops in the southern Ogallala region of the United States. It is challenging to maintain the profitability of crop production with limited water use. Guar [Cyamopsis tetragonoloba], as an extremely drought-tolerant crop, could be integrated into a semi-arid cropping system; however, commercial cultivation of guar has been challenged by a lack of high-yielding varieties and limited information on response to irrigation. To address these issues, we conducted experiments with two objectives: 1) to identify promising genotypes suitable for release as a variety, and 2) to assess the profitability of guar production under varying levels of irrigation. Several promising genotypes were identified based on field evaluation. Genotype 15GFT-523 demonstrated a yield advantage of 23% and 56% over popular varieties Matador and Lewis, respectively. Promising genotypes 15GFT-541, 15GFT-536, and 15GFT-511 had a higher hundred seed weight, representing good potential for gum extraction purposes. High yielding genotype 15GFT-104 has proven disease tolerance and genotypes 15GFT-101 and TXV-07 have promising forage nutrient value. Important agronomic traits – such as the height of lowest pods, plant height, plant type, pod length, and seeds per pod – useful for a breeding program, were also recorded. The economic analysis revealed that widespread guar production would not be economically viable in the irrigated environment under current conditions. Cultivation of guar in a dryland environment as a low input approach is recommended. The profitability of guar production could benefit from the release of an improved variety having higher yield. Therefore, further evaluation of promising breeding lines is suggested for a varietal development program of guar.

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Guar, Alternative crop