Cross-breeding a better bean
Tyler, TX (KETK) — A Texas A & M plant breeder in Overton is trying to develop a better bean. The Agrilife Research and Extension Center's objective is to develop new varieties for Texas that can be used as a grazing plant for deer and cattle and also serve as a seed crop.
Dr. Gerald Smith has been working with lab lab beans for the past ten years. The bean is a multiple use Summer annual plant that is grown all over the world and is a forest crop that does not require any nitrogen fertilizer. Dr. Smith so far has created one variety called the "Rio Verde."
His goal is to create a variety that will have drought tolerance traits, deep rooting and seed production as well as develop a variety that will be adaptable to Texas climate. "We're trying to improve that. We're always in the process of improving things. We want to make it more drought tolerable, we want to be able to produce more seed, we want it to be just a better plant all the way around," said Smith. He also says the process to cross and create a new variety takes about five years.