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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 #239181

Title: Biomass Yield of Naturalized Populations and Cultivars of Reed Canarygrass

item Casler, Michael
item CHERNEY, JEROME - Cornell University
item BRUMMER, CHARLES - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/27/2009
Publication Date: 9/15/2009
Citation: Casler, M.D., Cherney, J.H., Brummer, C.E. 2009. Biomass Yield of Naturalized Populations and Cultivars of Reed Canarygrass. BioEnergy Research. 2:165-173.

Interpretive Summary: Reed canarygrass is a potentially important candidate for biofuel production in cool-season regions of North America. We evaluated 80 varieties and wild collection of reed canarygrass for biomass yield in Iowa, Wisconsin, and New York. Wild populations had the highest biomass yield, indicating that there is considerable potential to increase biomass yields of this species by selection and breeding. The highest yielding collections were made in Iowa. These results will support our reed canarygrass breeding program, which has a goal of producing new varieties with high biomass yield for use by farmers interested in producing biomass for energy production.

Technical Abstract: Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is a widely adapted temperate grass with a circumglobal distribution in the northern hemisphere. Because it has relatively high biomass yields under relatively infrequent harvest systems, this species is receiving increasing attention as a bioenergy feedstock. The objective of this study was to conduct a comparative biomass-yield evaluation of reed canarygrass accessions from a wide range of habitats in the north central and northeastern USA. Eight cultivars and 72 accessions were evaluated for biomass yield over 2 years at five locations in Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin. Accessions produced, on average, 6.7% higher biomass yield than the cultivars. Cultivars ranked from 50th to 77th in biomass yield out of a total of 80 cultivars and accessions. Genetic expression for biomass yield was highly consistent across locations and years. Accessions from southern and western collection sites tended to have the highest biomass yield. Reed canarygrass populations in rural landscapes of the central and northeastern USA have value for increasing biomass yield potential of this bioenergy feedstock candidate species. The high biomass yield of many of these populations, combined with the large amount of genetic variability among these populations, offer potential for both short-term gains by selecting superior accessions and long-term gains by selection and breeding.