Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334085

Title: Variation and correlations among European and North American orchardgrass germplasm for herbage yield and nutritive value

item Robins, Joseph
item Bushman, Shaun
item FEUERSTEIN, ULF - Deutsche Saatveredelung Ag
item BLASE, GREG - Brigham Young University - Idaho

Submitted to: Agronomy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2016
Publication Date: 12/2/2016
Citation: Robins, J.G., Bushman, B.S., Feuerstein, U., Blase, G. 2016. Variation and correlations among European and North American orchardgrass germplasm for herbage yield and nutritive value. Agronomy. 6(4):61. doi:10.3390/agronomy6040061.

Interpretive Summary: Orchardgrass populations from the USDA Forage and Range (FRR) and Deutsche Saatveredelung AG (DSV) breeding programs were evaluated together at four locations: Idaho, Utah, France, and Germany. The objective was to 1) determine the levels of water soluble carbohydrates in the populations, 2) describe the relationship between water soluble carbohydrates and other agronomic traits, including forage yield and forage quality, and 3) determine the influence of the separate environments on the inheritance of these traits. The DSV populations possessed higher forage yield, rust resistance, and later maturity than the FRR populations. The FRR populations possessed higher water soluble carbohydrates, higher digestibility, and earlier maturity. Overall, the differences in the populations from the two programs are complementary and work to cross-integrate the genetics from both programs and may serve as a way to improve orchardgrass performance in the US and EU.

Technical Abstract: Efforts to improve water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations have come to the forefront of perennial forage grass breeding over the last decades. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) breeding has been very successful in developing new cultivars with high WSC and high agronomic performance. Breeding efforts are now ongoing to improve WSC of other perennial forage grasses, such as orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.). The USDA Forage and Range (FRR) and Deutsche Saatveredelung AG orchardgrass breeding programs cooperate to characterize the expression and genotype by environment interaction of WSC in a collection of orchardgrass population from both breeding programs. Additionally, the effort characterized the relationship between WSC and other agronomic and nutritive value traits in these populations. Overall, the DSV populations possessed high herbage mass, rust resistance, and late maturity. The FRR populations possessed high WSC, nutrive value, and early maturity. However, results were highly dependent on genotype by environment interaction. Differences were very pronounced at the French and German field locations, but less pronounced at the two US locations. Combing the germplasm from the FRR and DSV programs make a way to develop an improved base germplasm source that could then be used separately in the EU and US for WSC and other trait improvement.