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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320691

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Notice of release of Columbia Germplasm of bluebunch wheatgrass

Author
item Jones, Thomas
item Mott, Ivan

Submitted to: Native Plants Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/16/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Citation: Jones, T.A., Mott, I.W. 2016. Notice of release of Columbia Germplasm of bluebunch wheatgrass. Native Plant Journal. 17:53-58.

Interpretive Summary: Bluebunch wheatgrass is the most widely used cool-season grass for rangeland restoration in the Intermountain Region of the western U.S. Whitmar (released 1946), Goldar (1989), and Anatone Germplasm (2004) originated at sites averaging 549, 598, and 504 mm. However, most sites seed to bluebunch wheatgrass are considerably more arid than these locations, so germplasm originating from drier sites would be advantageous. Over four seeded trials, Columbia Germplasm, which originates at a site averaging 250 mm of annual precipitation, has displayed establishment frequency similar to Whitmar, Anatone, and P-7 Germplasm, and better than Goldar and Wahluke Germplasm. We anticipate that Columbia Germplasm will be useful for a wide variety of Intermountain sites that receive low amounts of precipitation yet are suitable for bluebunch wheatgrass.

Technical Abstract: Columbia Germplasm of bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Love) was released by USDA-ARS in 2015. It was developed through five cycles of selection, primarily for increased numbers of spikes, from K68, a population collected in 1980 in Adams County in eastern Washington. The collection site of K68 averages approximately 250 mm of annual precipitation, about half of the average annual precipitation at the collection sites of 'Whitmar,' 'Goldar,' and Anatone Germplasm, also in eastern Washington. Columbia Germplasm was compared to other bluebunch wheatgrass plant materials at one Nevada, two Idaho, and three Utah sites in a total of nine trials, five of which were transplanted, and four of which were seeded. Columbia Germplasm is expected to be used most widely on Intermountain rangelands that receive between 250 and 350 mm of average annual precipitation.