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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Dairy Forage Research

Title: Breeding Objectives in Forages

item Casler, Michael
item Van Santen, Edzard

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2009
Publication Date: 2/15/2010
Citation: Casler, M.D., Van Santen, E. 2010. Breeding Objectives in Forages. In: B. Boller et al. (eds.) Handbook of Plant Breeding, Volume 5: Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses. New York: Springer Publishing. p. 115-136.

Interpretive Summary: This is a book chapter that describes published literature and methods related to setting objectives in forage breeding programs. The chapter discusses methods that breeders use to set priorities and methods used to accomplish particular goals. Many plant traits, breeding objectives, and breeding methods are discussed in the chapter, concluding with inter-relationships among breeding objectives. The audience for this book will be forage breeders and students.

Technical Abstract: All breeding programs share one common objective – to improve a species for use within a target population of environments and a particular agricultural context. Beyond this common goal, the objectives of forage breeding programs are as varied as the species upon which they are based and the breeders who develop and implement them. Breeding objectives are framed within the agricultural context and the environments in which the species will be used. This chapter provides a review of literature and brief descriptions of many breeding objectives related to growth characteristics, biomass yield, nitrogen economy, forage quality, and stress tolerances. The ultimate choice of breeding objectives depends on many factors. Breeders must often make difficult decisions with little scientific information of direct relevance to the specific objective. Practical plant breeders are much more than people who develop new cultivars – they are problem solvers. The use of forage breeding to solve forage production problems requires sufficient scientific knowledge to identify the problem, prediction of a potential solution with a reasonably high degree of certainty, identification of reasonable and reliable breeding methods and traits, and the presence of sufficient genetic variability to create new germplasm that is sufficiently improved to assist in solving the problem.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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