Shanice Van Haeften

Position: PhD Student
Place of birth: Brisbane, Australia
Language: English
Scholarship: Research Training Program (RTP), Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Research Scholarship
Advisors: A/Prof Lee Hickey, Dr Millicent Smith, Mr Colin Douglas, Dr Kai Voss-Fels, Dr Andries Potgieter
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Background:
In Australia, Mungbean is a main rotation option for dryland growers in tropical and subtropical farming systems. Current harvesting practices involve spraying the crop with desiccant prior to harvesting. However, due to mungbean’s staggered pod maturity (a result of a long flowering window), growers often struggle to determine the optimal time to undertake desiccation. Spraying out mungbean too early or too late can lead to reduced yield potential and grain quality; hindering growers’ profits. The use of desiccants is also becoming more restrictive with changes in the exceeding maximum residue limit. These challenges highlight the opportunity to explore alternative harvest management practices, which could include the development of high-yielding varieties with traits that do not require the same desiccation practices as at present.

This project aims to develop a deeper understanding of the genetic controls of mungbean pod development and senescence to identify potential combinations of agronomic traits that could be deployed in future varieties. QAAFI’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform will be used alongside ground-based phenological data, to investigate its ability to predict and dissect the physiology and genetics of pod development traits of a mungbean nested association mapping (NAM) population. The data collection from these field trials will be used to identify promising trait combinations to support breeding of high yielding varieties with synchronous flowering and senescence.

Objectives:  
– Dissect the genetics of pod development and senescence and yield component traits of a mungbean NAM population
– Understand the physiological and genetic basis of canopy development
– Develop UAV phenotyping methodology for mungbean research and breeding applications
– Contribute to the development of high yielding mungbean cultivars