Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341460

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 Princeton Germplasm of Thurber's needlegrass

Author
item Jones, Thomas
item Monaco, Thomas

Submitted to: Native Plants Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2018
Citation: Jones, T.A., Monaco, T.A. 2018. Notice of release of Princeton Germplasm of Thurber's needlegrass. Native Plant Journal. 19:40-46. doi:10.3368/npj.19.1.40.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3368/npj.19.1.40

Interpretive Summary: Princeton Germplasm of Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum [Piper] Barkworth [Poaceae]) was released on 4 Feb. 2016 by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service as a selected class of pre-variety germplasm (natural track). This new plant material originates in eastern Oregon near Princeton (Harney County) at a site that receives approximately 250-300 mm of annual precipitation. Princeton is proposed for use in this precipitation zone in the Northern Basin and Range Level III Ecoregion. Princeton was compared to other Thurber's needlegrass accessions in northern Utah field sites (Box Elder and Cache counties) and in a greenhouse evaluation. In one field evaluation, Princeton displayed overall higher seed yields, due in particular to high yields in the second year of seed production, than the other accessions tested. The release of Princeton was justified on this basis because seed yields in this species are generally low and seed is necessarily expensive. This issue, plus slow establishment and seed shattering losses, have limited the adoption of Thurber's needlegrass by seed growers. Potentially, a higher-yielding seed source that is amenable to agricultural production and can be provided for a reasonable cost may stimulate use of Thurber's needlegrass seed.

Technical Abstract: Princeton Germplasm of Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum [Piper] Barkworth [Poaceae]) was released on 4 Feb. 2016 by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service as a selected class of pre-variety germplasm (natural track). This new plant material originates in eastern Oregon near Princeton (Harney County) at a site that receives approximately 250-300 mm of annual precipitation. Princeton is proposed for use in this precipitation zone in the Northern Basin and Range Level III Ecoregion. Princeton was compared to other Thurber's needlegrass accessions in northern Utah field sites (Box Elder and Cache counties) and in a greenhouse evaluation. In one field evaluation, Princeton displayed overall higher seed yields, due in particular to high yields in the second year of seed production, than the other accessions tested. The release of Princeton was justified on this basis because seed yields in this species are generally low and seed is necessarily expensive. This issue, plus slow establishment and seed shattering losses, have limited the adoption of Thurber's needlegrass by seed growers. Potentially, a higher-yielding seed source that is amenable to agricultural production and can be provided for a reasonable cost may stimulate use of Thurber's needlegrass seed.