Scientific research team to design corn hybrids


In more than 60 years of history of modern maize breeding in Bc Institut for plant production and breeding, this programme became recognisable and respectable both in the country and all around the world. Taking into considerations specific properties of agro-climatology as well as specific properties of maize farming and its use in Croatia, 6 generations of breeding professionals successfully offers agriculture practitioners hybrids which encompass about 50% of areas where maize is grown despite presence of all the global competitors. In addition to design of hybrids for the domestic market, efforts to create hybrids for foreign markets (extremely early and late hybrids) have been intensified, already resulting in increased exports.

As in any serious breeding programme, the basic objective is to create highly adaptable, high-yield hybrids. In addition to the foregoing, each hybrid aimed at market success should also be accompanied by a “package” of specific properties conditioned by the producer. Therefore efforts are invested in hybrids for farming at various levels of agro-technical measures applied, various methods of harvest and use. Grain quality and/or increased proportion of proteins through an increased proportion of corneous endosperm is important to producers who use most of the maize within their own farms. Increasing consumer standards and demands for healthier food reinforce the need to design hybrids with a favourable proportion of Omega-3/ Omega-6 fatty acids. Due to shortages and high price of energy, selection to promote more rapid release of moisture from grains gains importance. Design of and constant improvements to the own genetic base ensuring independence and recognisability, as well as cooperation with breeding programmes throughout the world are meant to respond to these and a great many other demands, reach and remain at the top.


Mr.Sc. Zdravko Kozić

Head of the Maize Department
Independent maize breeding expert


Marija Kostenjak, M.Sc.

Professional associate
Head of maize experiments

Ph.D. Mirko Jukić

Maize breeding expert
Senior scientific associate


Ph.D. Ivica Buhiniček

Independent maize breeding expert
Scientific adviser



Projects of the Maize Department within the programme of Study and Improvement of the Genetic Basis of Properties of Farm Crops (1780691), Programme manager: Prof. dr. sc. Vinko Kuzomplik, with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia.


Project manager: PhD. Branko Palaveršić

General objective of the project:

Breeding for resistance against diseases is the most efficient and the most environmentally acceptable method of protection of maize against diseases. Since epiphytes of individual diseases are irregular occurrences, artificial infection of selection material ensures that we may perform a selection each year. Locally adopted and globally standard methods of infection of leaf, stem and ears are applied. The most significant diseases are northern leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), rotting of stems caused by Fusarium genus of fungi (Fusarium graminearum, F. moniliforme, and F. subglutinans) and Colletotrichum graminicola, maize ear rot caused by Fusarium graminearum and F. moniliforme. Combinatory capacity is tested in a large number of micro-experiments with test hybrids. This research is significant for boosting maize production levels through genetic improvement of new hybrids which means high and stable grain yield and resistance against diseases. Hybrids resistant to ear rot shall also be associated with a reduced risk of contamination of cattle forage and human food by mycotoxins (deoxynivalenol and zearalenone). Resistance to stem rot, along with yield and grain water content at harvest time, is one of the most significant criteria in the course of recognition and selection of hybrids.


Project manager: PhD. Ivica Buhiniček

General objective of the project:

Genotyping of domestic commercial and experimental inbred lines (IL) and public IL maize at additional 60 SSR loci (89 in total). Comparing categorisation of IL into heterotic groups in maize based on combinatory capacity with selected testcrosses and based on genetic similarity (GS) results. Evaluate specific combinatory capacity and heterosis for grain yield in various target environments and correlate them with the GS values. It shall be possible to apply results of the research in the process of maize breeding (evaluation of genetic variability of IL, more accurate grouping of IL by pool, easier selection of testcrosses based on the GS results, development of hybrids for more intensive production conditions as well as for stressful environments (poor N fertilisation, drought, monoculture), in seed production (monitoring of genetic purity and seed identity) and for the purposes of protection of our breeding materials. Obtained results shall also be used to develop scientific papers, for their publication in journals and presentation at domestic and international conventions.