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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: The Evaluation of Novel Cool-Season Grasses, Legumes and Forage Shrub Germplasm for Use in Irrigated and Nonirrigated Temperate Environments

Location: Forage and Range Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop novel cool-season grass and legume germplasm and associated management technologies for use in irrigated and non-irrigated mesic, temperate growing environments.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Collaborative experiments will be designed and implemented either in the laboratory or the field depending upon the specific research objectives. Laboratory experiments will be conducted jointly in Logan, Utah, and the Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IAS, CAAS), Beijing, China, where research concerning the evaluation of diverse germplasm for abiotic stress environments are being conducted. Where experiments involve the development of evaluation technologies (abiotic stresses including, but not limited to, heat, drought and salinity) for the identification of unique grass and legume genotypes, work will be performed in Logan, Utah, and by the IAS, CAAS. 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 Beijing, China, under irrigated and non-irrigated growing conditions and in the greenhouse as deemed appropriate. This research will attempt to: .
1)assess the genetic diversity of U.S. and Chinese grasses, legumes, and forage shrub germplasm;.
2)develop technologies for evaluating these plant materials under stress and non-stress environments, and;.
3)identify novel plant materials further evaluation and potential use in breeding.


3.Progress Report

The main objective of this project will be to: .
1)Assess the genetic diversity of U.S. and Chinese grasses, legumes and forage shrub germplasm;.
2)Develop technologies for evaluating these plant materials under stress and non-stress environments; and.
3)Identify novel plant materials for further evaluation and potential use in breeding.

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 FY 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 FY 2010 to further improve scientific associations between Chinese institutions, the FRRL, USU, and the China MOST. The FY 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 FY 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.

Monitoring Methods: • Email correspondence for the planning and execution of a US/Sino Grass Alliance meeting was successfully completed. • In-country telephone conversations were made to finalize arrangements of attendees and coordinate their presentation of reports.


Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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