Fagopyrum spp

Buckwheat. This one of the pseudo-cereals. Three species are cultivated. Fagopyrum esculentum is the common buckwheat, F. cymosum is the perennial buckwheat, and F. tataricum is the

Tartary buckwheat. The buckwheats are a very ancient crop originating in China. They are not very important commercially but they have persisted agriculturally for many millennia. They are open-pollinated and amenable to general improvement by amateur breeders using recurrent mass selection . There is room for improvement in horizontal resistance to both pests and disease . Fagus sylvatica

The beech. A hardwood tree used in plantation forests. Not recommended for amateur breeders . Family

A taxonomic group of closely related genera. Family selection

When working with pure lines crops, the technique of family selection, or 'head to row' selection, can lead to a more rapid genetic advance. Family selection means that all the seeds derived from one 'head' or 'ear', or from one plant, constitute a 'family'. All the members of one family are planted together, in one row, or in one small plot. The selection is in two stages. The first stage selects the best families. The second stage selects the best individual plants within those best families. Only the best individuals, from the best families, are kept. Note: This term has nothing to do with the taxonomic group called a family. FAO

See: Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Farm animal breeding

The breeding of farm animals deserves cursory mention in a guide to plant breeding for one simple reason. There are no single-gene characteristics of any economic significance in farm animals. The total domination, by Mendelian breeders, that occurred in professional plant breeding, has been avoided in animal breeding. The improvement of farm animals has invariably involved population breeding, often conducted by individual farmers. However, a feature common to both kinds of breeding is that heterosis has been exploited in poultry breeding. Farmer participation schemes

The term 'farmer participation' in plant breeding is a somewhat belated attempt to allow farmers some influence in the production of new cultivar. The participation can vary from the one extreme of a farmer-survey to determine farmer preferences, to the other extreme of the farmers doing the actual breeding, usually as members of a breeding club, possibly under the guidance of a professional breeder. Farmer selection

This is an aspect of some plant breeding programs in which the farmers make the final selection of cultivar. Each farmer is given a different group of new clones or pure lines of a crop, emerging from a breeding program. He is asked to grow them and choose those he likes best. His favourites become his own property, with the sole provision that the breeder may have some of them for the purpose of further breeding. The farmer may then grow that material for his own use, and give or sell propagating material to his neighbours. The participation of farmers' wives is important in this process, particularly in the non-industrial countries. This farmer selection represents one of the first steps in self-organising crop improvement. Farmer's privilege

This is a clause in most the plant breeders' rights legislation of most countries that permits a farmer to use some of his own crop of a registered cultivar for seed on his own farm only. He may not sell any of that crop for seed unless licensed to do so.

However, some seed companies deny this right, particularly with respect to GMOs, by a special clause in the sale contract. See also: Breeders' rights. Farmyard manure (FYM)

The rotted excrement of farm animals, mostly cattle, pigs, and horses, but also poultry, and usually mixed with straw, used as a fertiliser for crops. Organic farmers insist on the use of natural (i.e., non-synthetic) fertilisers and FYM is the most important of these. Unfortunately, there is never enough FYM to supply the total farming need. Imagine, for example, trying to find enough FYM to fertilise the entire corn belt of the USA. Feed grains

Grains, mostly cereals, used for feeding farm animals. Maize is the most important of the feed grains. Feedback

The modification or control of a process or system by its own results. Feedback can be either positive or negative. Positive feedback leads to increase and is destabilising. For example, population growth depends on the number of reproducing individuals. As the population increases, the rate of growth also increases, and there can be a population explosion. Negative feedback leads to stability. For example, an excess of individuals limits the available food, and leads to a loss of breeding individuals. The population size is then stable. See also: Homeostasis. Female sterility

Some crops (e.g., banana) do not produce true seed because of a female sterility. However, male sterility is much more common, and is more useful in plant breeding. Fermentation

Fermentation is the alteration of biological substances by either microbiological or chemical means. Microbiological fermentation may be constructive (e.g., the production of penicillin) or destructive (e.g., the breakdown of sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol, in beer, wine, and bread). Chemical fermentation occurs without the participation of microorganisms and it occurs, for example, in the fermentation of green tea into black tea, and in the production of silage. Fertile Crescent

An archaeological term used to describe the fertile area of ancient agriculture that extends from modern Israel in a wide arc to the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

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