Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2006
Publication Date: 12/4/2006
Citation: Vogel, K.P., Hopkins, A.A., Moore, K.J., Johnson, K.D., Carlson, I.T. 2006. Genetic variation among Canada wildrye accessions from Midwest remnant prairies for biomass yield and other traits. Crop Science 46:2348-2353. Interpretive Summary: Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis L.) and Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus L.) are grasses which are native to the tall grass prairies of USA. Seed of these grasses was collected from remnant Midwest prairies and was used to establish evaluation nurseries at Mead, NE, Ames, IA, and West Lafayette, IN. There were significant differences among collection site accessions for biomass yield, heading date, and forage protein concentration. The relative ranking of the strains was similar over locations for these traits demonstrating broad adaptation of the evaluated plant materials. Plants originating from some prairie sites were significantly superior to others for biomass yield and should be useful in developing improved cultivars. The relationship between the geographical location of the collection site and evaluation sites for plant biomass yield was determined using regression analyses. The results of these analyses demonstrates that for Canada wildrye, the assumption that locally collected material is the best adapted for local area re-vegetation is not valid for the tall grass prairie region of the Midwest USA.
Technical Abstract: Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis L.) and Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus L.) which are native to the USA were collected from remnant Midwest prairies. The objectives of this study were to determine the genetic variability among the collected accessions for biomass yield and other traits, determine the extent of genotype x environment interactions for these traits across Midwest environments, and to determine the relationship between the geographical location of the collection site and evaluation sites for these accessions for plant biomass yield which can be used as a measure of adaptation. Space-transplanted evaluation nurseries were established at Mead, NE, Ames, IA, and West Lafayette, IN and accessions were evaluated on a plot basis for two years. There was significant genetic variation among accessions for post-heading forage yield, heading date, height, pre-heading in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) and crude protein (CP) concentration, and post heading CP concentration. Strain x location interaction effects were significant only for post-heading IVDMD and height indicating that for the other traits, the relative ranking of the strains was similar at all three locations over the two evaluation years All but five of the Canada wildrye accessions had higher biomass yield than the only released cultivar Mandan which was included in the trial as a control. Regression results demonstrate that for Canada wildrye, the assumption that locally collected material is the best adapted for local area re-vegetation is not valid for the tall grass prairie region of the Midwest USA.