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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improvement of Winter Hardiness in Oats from 1935 to 1992

Authors
item Livingston D P,
item Elwinger G F,

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 13, 1994
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The Uniform Oat Winter Hardiness Nursery has been coordinated by the USDA since 1926. Its purpose is to provide breeders with an opportunity to test germplasm for winter survival at many more locations than would be possible in their own programs. An analysis of the winter survival of 10 check cultivars grown for the first 40 years showed that four winterhardiness categories exist in oats. Additional analyses focused on the improvement of winter survival in germplasm submitted by breeders. It showed considerable improvement until around 1970. From then until 1992 very little improvement has been made in the average winter survival of germplasm submitted by breeders. However, several individual entries submitted between 1970 and 1992 showed significant improvement over the hardy check cultivar Wintok. The lack of improvement in average survival is probably related to a reduced effort in breeding oats for winterhardiness.

Technical Abstract: To improve the probability of selecting more winter-hardy oat germplasm under field conditions, the Uniform Oat Winter Hardiness Nursery was initiated in 1926. It has since grown to 141 locations in 31 states (U.S.) and four provinces (Canada) and 986 different cultivars and experimental lines have been tested. An analysis of variance of survival data of 10 check cultivars, common in 276 location years (LYs), revealed four hardiness categories. Regression analyses of survival data from over 1000 LYs in which differential winter killing occurred, indicated that significant improvement had been made during the first 45 years in the average winterhardiness of entries submitted for testing in the nursery; the elite hardiness of individual entries has steadily improved throughout the period of analyses. Reduced effort in breeding for winterhardiness, due to lack of funding and/or exhaustion of genetic potential, may explain the lack of progress in the average hardiness of entries since the early 1970s

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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