Most germplasm lines and improved sorghum genotypes identified as resistant to shoot fly (Atherigona soccata Rond.), stem borer (Chilo partellus Swin.), midge (Contarinia sorghicola Coq.) and head bugs (Calocoris angustatus Leth.) are resistant to only one of these insects which usually will infest the same crop during the same season. At ICRISAT Center, India, a technique was developed in which entries were subjected to an array of combinations of pest infestations for identifying and separating genotypes with resistance to one or more insects.
Using this technique, 220 resistance sources and breeding lines were evaluated for multiple insect resistance. Less than 10% of shoot fly resistance sources had acceptable resistance (< 3 on a scale of 1–9) to shoot fly, but over 50% showed good resistance (scores of 1–3) to stem borer. IS 18551 and IS 2195 were the best entries with resistance to both shoot fly and stem borer. However, the majority (80–90%) of shoot fly and stem borer resistant sources were highly susceptible to midge with scores > 8. Similarly, all midge resistant sources were highly susceptible to shoot fly but less so to stem borer where seven midge lines had scores < 5. IS 22464 was the best midge line with a score of 3 for stem borer resistance. Advanced breeding lines showed a wider range of resistance to shoot fly, stem borer and midge with a higher frequency for resistance to stem borer, PS 28060−3 and PM 14388−1 were the most promising breeding lines.