Page Banner

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

2012 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:
During FY-2012: Scientists of the FRRL, Utah State University (USU), Logan, UT, and Chinese institutions (initially 5, now 9) created formal relationships in 2009 to encourage scientific exchange and cooperation in areas of genetics and ecologically-based management practices related to rangeland, turf, and pasture species (grasses and more recently forbs and legumes). This resulted in creation of the Sino/US Grass Research Alliance (SUSGRA; 9 university, private, and government institutions) in 2010, which is supported the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and ARS. In 2010/2011, ARS recognized SUSGRA as an official project with research ties to the MOST, one of only two such projects (the other is in the area of human health). The SUSGRA led to: 1) The identification of grass germplasm that stabilizes sand dunes in the western deserts of China with recent involvement of the U.S. seed industry (2005-2010); 2) The 2010 International Symposium on Forage, Turfgrass and Biofuel Germplasm Research and the second U.S./Sino Grass Alliance meeting were held at the Northwest A & F University in Yangling, China (October 2010); 3) The second meeting of the U.S./Sino Grass Alliance held in Yangling China (October 2010); 4) Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) between the FRRL and China institutions in 2010/2011 to test elite grass and legume populations in replicated trials in five non-irrigated growing environments across China from hot, humid sites in eastern China to hot, dry sites in western China; 5) In 2012, replicated trials incorporating ARS released and experimental grasses, legumes and sub-shrubs (i.e., forage kochia) were established in six locations across northern China, and; 6) The third meeting of the U.S./Sino Grass Alliance held in Panguitch Utah (June 8-9, 2012; 20 Chinese member attendees of SUSGRA), where reports were made on the establishment of replicated research trials in China. Reports were given on the successes of the establishment of plant materials in the Chinese replicated trails. Three additional Chinese institutions joined the alliance bring the total member institutions to 12. This tour and meeting was held in conjunction with the VII International Molecular Biofuels, Forage and Turf Conference held in Salt Lake City, UT between June 3 and 7, 2012 (183 attendees). Drs. Lan Yun and Liu Rui-Xiang from Inner Mongolia Agricultural University completed their successful one-year studies at the FRRL in plant genetics and ecology, respectively. Lastly, Ms. Yingmei Ma completed her Master of Science degree in the area of plant genetics under the research supervision of the FRRL (2 years) and Dr. Shang Chen of the Practaculture Institute, Heilongong Academy of Agricultural Sciences completed his two-year studies at the FRRL in the area of legume genetics.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page