U.S. NATIVE GRASS BREEDING CONSORTIUM TO IDENTIFY REGIONAL OPTIMUM BIOMASS PRODUCTIVITY ON MARGINAL LAND
Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The climate and soil environment where plant selection occurs has been shown to affect the outcome of breeding programs. Although, plant selection efforts are occurring across the U.S., they are occurring on prime farmland rather than marginal soils where biomass production has been suggested to be targeted to minimize competition with food crops. The goals of this project are to evaluate the importance of soil quality at the site of germplasm assessment on selecting the most productive switchgrass material for marginal soils. To compliment this focus on marginal soils, we will evaluate the effect of selecting for high nitrogen (N) use efficiency under low N conditions. We will also evaluate the potential of legumes to meet the N requirements of a mixture of C4 grass species.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Six cooperators trained in perennial grass breeding and agronomy have joined together to form the Native Grass Breeding Consortium. Each cooperator will evaluate clones and half-sib families from each of four breeding programs and released cultivars of switchgrass in paired fields of marginal and prime farmland. Each plot will also be split and have a high and low N treatment applied.
This project consists of six cooperators trained in perennial grass breeding and agronomy to form the Native Grass Breeding Consortium. Each cooperator evaluated clones and half-sib families from each of four breeding programs and released cultivars of switchgrass in paired fields of marginal and prime farmland. Each plot was split and had a high and low N treatment applied. Cooperators were each responsible for managing the site within their region. Overall progress was monitored through periodic conference calls and emails. We completed year two of data collection including biomass yields of clones, half-sib families, mixed warm season perennial grass and legume plots, and released cultivars of switchgrass of our paired marginal and prime sites in Rockton PA.