Submitted to: Grain Legumes
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Biomass production by a range of lentil genotypes from the wild species progenitor to modern cultivars was studied to determine the changes made to bring about higher seed and residue yields over time. The results indicate that since domestication, estimated to have taken place about 8,000 years ago, that improved seed yields have come about from increased biomass production and altered stem structure. Stem structure was altered to enabl greater ability of the plants to carry the additional seed weight. The increased biomass production has implications for improved residue amounts that are considered to be a major factor in erosion control in the high rainfall zones of the production areas of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The additional residues when left on the soil surface provide protection from the erosive effects of rainfall. The results indicate that lentil yields can be improved through selection for increased biomass which in turn translates to additional residues and thus better control of erosion.
Technical Abstract: Lentil is an important food and fodder crop in many developing countries of the world and especially in semi-arid regions. The protein rich seeds are used for food while the residues from the crop are important for animal feeding. In the U.S., lentil is an important rotational crop to cereals in the Pacific Northwest. Under situations of animal feeding and for the benefit of the cropping systems, increased biomass and residues from lenti crops is considered essential. In this study, we developed a genetic gradient from the presumed wild species progenitor of lentil to modern cultivars and compared stem structure, biomass production and seed yields. Results indicated that improved seed yields are related to increased biomass and residue production. Also, the improved seed yields were associated with changes in stem structure such that higher seed yielding accessions had stems that were altered to carry the additional seed weight. .The additional biomass and residue production benefits the control of soil erosion by providing additional protection of soil surfaces.