Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2006
Publication Date: May 31, 2007
Citation: Robins, J.G., Waldron, B.L., Vogel, K.P., Berdhal, J.D., Haferkamp, M.R., Jensen, K.B., Jones, T.A., Mitchell, R., Kindiger, B.K. 2007. Characterization of Testing Locations for Developing Cool-Season Grass Species. Crop Science 47:1004-1012. Interpretive Summary: Breeding program resources are more efficiently allocated when best testing locations are utilized in the breeding process. However, to do this, materials must be tested at a number of locations followed by a characterization of the value of each location. In this study, six locations representative of the Northern Great Plains and Intermountain areas of the United States were characterized for their utility in a cool-season grass breeding program. Entries of crested wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, and smooth bromegrass were placed at each site and studied for their initial stand frequency and forage production performance over three years. Results suggested the existence of best testing locations for each species and trait combination. However, with a few exceptions, these identifications were species and trait specific. Thus, cool-season grass breeding testing locations are useful on an individual species basis, but not across species.
Technical Abstract: The identification of best testing locations greatly facilitates the allocation of resources in a breeding program, allowing emphasis to be placed at the sites best suited for identifying superior plant materials and most representative of the target environment. The objective of this study was the identification of best locations for the evaluation and testing of cool-season grass species within the Northern Great Plains and Intermountain regions of the U.S. Additionally, this study sought to sub-divide the included locations into meaningful environmental groupings based on similar entry performance. The study characterized initial stand frequency and forage production performance [over a three-year period] of crested wheatgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, and smooth bromegrass at six locations within these regions. Results suggested the existence of best testing locations and environmental groupings for each of the species. Although the environmental groupings of Blue Creek and North Logan, UT and then Mandan, ND and Miles City, MT were consistent, generally, the best testing locations and environmental groupings were species and trait specific. The use of best testing locations and environmental groupings appeared to be most useful on an individual species basis, rather than considered across the cool-season grass species.