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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Improved Grass and Legume Germplasm and Management Technologies for Use in Irrigated and Non-Irrigated Pastures

Location: Forage and Range Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop technologies and methodologies associated with grass endophytes and evaluate plant germplasm (grass and legumes) for use in irrigated and non-irrigated pastures.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Collaborative experiments will be designed and implemented either in the laboratory or the field depending upon the objective. Laboratory experiments will be conducted jointly in Logan, Utah, and the Center for Frigid Zone Plant Gene Resource Research of Heilongjiang Province, China (CFZPR) where endophytes and evaluation of germplasm for abiotic stress environments are involved. Where experiments involve the development of technologies (morphological and molecular) for endophyte identification, work will be performed in Logan, Utah. Germplasm evaluation of Chinese and U.S. grass and legume accessions (cultivars and lines) will be conducted in the Great Basin region of Utah and in the Heilongjiang Province, China, under irrigated and non-irrigated growing areas as deemed appropriate. This research will attempt to: 1)Evaluate the performance of grasses and legumes under abiotic stress conditions;.
2)Develop breeding methodologies for improved agronomic performance of pasture species (grasses and legumes);.
3)Evaluate the nutritional quality of pasture species in animal production (e.g., dairy cattle and sheep);.
3)Develop methodologies associated with the identification of endophytes and their inoculation into novel grass plants;.
4)Develop methodologies (morphological, biochemical, and molecular) which will identify specific endophytes; and,.
5)Evaluate agronomic performance of endophyte (+) and non-endophyte (-) containing novel Chinese and U.S. grass germplasm along with appropriate + or - endophyte containing control germplasm under differing growing conditions (e.g., abiotic and biotic stress).


3.Progress Report:

This project continues to be a valuable asset to the FRRL. There has been a recent exchange of scientist who preformed research on the effects of salinity on alfalfa. That project has been completed and the manuscript(s) associated with that project are being developed for publication. In late 2012 and early 2013, a plan was conceived to have a 2013 U.S./Sino Grass Alliance meeting at CFZPR, where a meeting would be help with all alliance members (10) to discuss on-going research and develop plans for more cooperative research efforts among Chinese institutions. Site visits to cooperative research plots also associated with this meeting were planned to allow cooperators to see research at other institutions. This activity was designed to allow for training of Chinese scientists by FRRL scientists in data collection and for assessment of trial plots for future data collection. These planned activities did not come to fruition because of USDA travel restrictions and congressionally instituted budget rescissions in which travel to this meeting by FRRL personal could not be accommodated. A similar meeting will be planned in 2014, which will seek to reach the objectives of the meeting planned in 2013.


Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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