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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Novel Cool-Season Grasses, Legumes, and Forage Shrub Germplasm for Use in Irrigated and Non-Irrigated Dry Environments

Location: Forage and Range Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop novel cool-season grass and legume germplasm and associated managemment technologies for use in irrigated and non-irrigated 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 Department of Grassland Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing (DGS) where research concerning the evaluation of germplasm for abiotic stress environments and associated management practices are being conducted. Where experiments involve the development of breeding and management technologies for the identification and use of unique grass and legume genotypes, work will be performed in Logan, Utah, and by the DGS. 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 Hebei Province (north, near Inner Mongolia), 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 grasses, legumes, and forage shrub germplasm native to dry, temperate regions of China;.
2)develop grass, legume, and forage shrub plant materials with improved pasture, turf, and rangeland characteristics;.
3)develop plant materials adapted to dry, temperate regions under reduced management inputs (e.g., irrigation and fertilizer);.
4)develop improved breeding procedures and management practices; and.
5)develop new genetic methodologies for use in evaluation and breeding.


3.Progress Report

The main objective of this project will be to: .
1)Assess the genetic diversity of grasses, legumes, and forage germplasm native to dry, temperate regions of China; .
2)Develop grass, legume and forage shrub plant materials with improved pasture, turf, and rangeland characteristics;.
3)Develop plant materials adapted to dry , temperate regions under reduced management inputs (e.g., irrigation and fertilizer);.
4)Develop improved breeding procedures and management practices; and .
5)Develop new genetic methodologies for use in evaluation and 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 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.

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: 7/23/2014
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