On 11 November 2014, representatives of Mexico’s highland maize value chain attended a workshop at CIMMYT headquarters in El Batán, Mexico. MasAgro- Maize Network partners, a representative from the milling industry and members of the MasAgro-Farmer team tested hybrid grains from the CIMMYT highlands maize genetic improvement program. Participants also analyzed parent lines of hybrids and measured the grain quality of two CIMMYT hybrids for dough and tortillas.
The workshop was organized by Arturo Silva, leader of the MasAgro-Maize component, and Alberto Chassaigne, responsible for CIMMYT seed systems.
Principal researcher José Luis Torres and his colleague Carmen Bretón led a tour of trial plots, where workshop participants could see CIMMYT hybri and synthetic varieties for Mexico’s highlands. Breeding experts explained the origins of each material while participants examined the aspect of ears.
Ubaldo Marcos, CIMMYT maize seed production manager, presented seed production technology for six hybrids, as well as the differences between ear size and female parental seed, which are grown at densities of 65,000 and 75,000 plants per hectare.
Afterwards, there was a demonstration of artisanal nixtamalization to obtain dough from two CIMMYT hybrids. Natalia Palacios, maize nutrition quality specialist, explained grain quality and outlined dough and tortilla industry requirements. Tortillas were then made from the nixtamalized dough. A positive opinion from the representative of the dough industry was much appreciated.
The participants also estimated yields of the white and yellow hybrids evaluated as part of the MasAgro Highlands Network under low nitrogen, rain-fed and irrigated systems and the estimates were compared to real yield values. At the end, workshop participants concluded that MasAgro-Maize takes advantage of the crop’s genetic potential to boost maize yields in the highlands.