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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

2011 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

The main objective of this project will be 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).

Scientists at the USDA, ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory (FRRL) and Utah State University (USU), Logan UT, and Chinese institutions created formal relationships in 2009 to encourage scientific exchange and cooperation in the areas of genetics and ecologically-based management practices related to rangeland, turf, and pasture species (grasses and more recently forbs and legumes). This trip resulted in the creation of the Sino/US Grass Research Alliance (SUSGRA; 9 university, private and government institutions), which is supported by the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and ARS. Members of the SUSGRA planned and convened an international symposium and held a second alliance meeting under the ARS-MOST Protocol in 2010 to further improve scientific associations between Chinese institutions, the FRRL, USU, and the China MOST. The 2010 International Symposium on Forage, Turfgrass and Biofuel Germplasm Research and the second SUSGRA meeting were held at the Northwest A & F University in Yangling, China. Ten USDA-ARS scientists and three USU scientists participated in the symposium (9-13 October 2010), which had 188 attendees. Participants exchanged scientific and technical information in five separate sessions related to the collection, curation, and enhancement of germplasm for forage, turfgrass, and biofuels in both oral and poster presentations. It was determined that a second symposium will be held in the U.S. during 2012 at the VII International Molecular Biofuels, Forage, and Turf Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, UT. SUSGRA members, USU, and ARS scientists identified key research objectives that were later formalized in USDA Specific Cooperative Agreements (SCAs) with each Alliance member institution and the FRRL. These agreements allowed for the transport and planting of FRRL germplasm in replicated trials at six locations across northern China (on of which was in Harbin with two plantings), which is the beginning of extensive experimentation in genetics and physiology. Lastly, Dr. Shang Chen and Ms. Yingmei Ma arrived during the same period to study at the FRRL, and in the Department of Plant, Soils, and Climate, USU, respectively.

ADODR monitoring is via email, phone calls, and discussions at professional meetings.


Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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