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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #237906

Title: Correlations Between Visual Biomass Scores and Forage Yield in Space-Planted Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Breeding Nurseries

item Riday, Heathcliffe

Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2009
Publication Date: 7/12/2009
Citation: Riday, H. 2009. Correlations Between Visual Biomass Scores and Forage Yield in Space-Planted Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Breeding Nurseries. Euphytica. 170:339-345.

Interpretive Summary: Red clover varieties with increased forage yield would benefit agriculture. However, developing high yielding varieties is resource intensive, and, unfortunately, few resources are available for forage legume breeding. Using visual estimates of forage yield during red clover breeding selection, in place of measuring the actual forage yield, would greatly reduce required resources. This study determined how accurate visual estimates of forage yield were in comparison to actual forage yields in a typical plant breeding selection nursery. It was determined that visual estimates of forage yield in selection nurseries was 80% as accurate as measuring actual forage yields. This result enables red clover breeders to confidently use visual estimates of forage yield in place of actual yield measurements. This result will allow red clover breeders to evaluate more plants using fewer resources leading to varieties with greater forage yield.

Technical Abstract: Red clover (Trifolium pratense) forage yield remains a prime breeding target for improved variety development. In a world of decreasing forage legume breeding resources, rapidly and cheaply phenotyping plants for the highly quantitative trait of forage yield is vital. Many red clover selection programs are based on space-planted nurseries. The objectives of this study were to determine: 1) the accuracy of visual forage yield scores in predicting actual forage yield; 2) the nature of the relationship between visual scores and actual measurements; and 3) the repeatability of visual scores between different evaluators. Twenty seven halfsib families were transplanted at two locations in three replicates of six plant plots. Individual plant fresh weights and visual scores, by two evaluators, for forage yield were taken. On an individual plant basis, visual forage yield scores showed an exponential relationship with actual fresh weights. Individual plant visual scores were very accurate with a pseudo-R2 of 0.79 observed for the exponential model. On an entry mean basis using a linear model, visual scores could explain 90% of the variation of actual fresh weights. Agreement among evaluators scoring the same plants was very high with coefficients of determination at 0.84 for individual plants and as high as 0.96 on an entry mean basis. This study suggests that visual scores of plants in space planted red clover breeding nurseries are basically as accurate as measuring actual yields and those plants can be consistently scored the same by different evaluators