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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376740

Research Project: Improved Plant Genetic Resources and Methodologies for Rangelands, Pastures, and Turf Landscapes in the Semiarid Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Breeding of the crested wheatgrass complex (Agropyron spp.) for North American temperate rangeland agriculture and conservation

item Robins, Joseph
item Jensen, Kevin

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2020
Publication Date: 8/4/2020
Citation: Robins, J.G., Jensen, K.B. 2020. Breeding of the crested wheatgrass complex (Agropyron spp.) for North American temperate rangeland agriculture and conservation. Agronomy Journal. 10(8). Article 1134.

Interpretive Summary: Crested wheatgrass use and plant breeding for rangeland revegetation and grazing have occurred in North America for over 100 years. Crested wheatgrass is the premiere perennial grass species for this purpose. However, challenges remain to develop crested wheatgrasses with the environment and agricultural sustainability to adequately address land manager needs. This paper reviews the breeding and genetic progress made in crested wheatgrass over the last 100 years and looks to future applications that will increase efficiences and usage of this species.

Technical Abstract: Species from the crested wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.) complex have been widely used for revegetation and grazing on North American rangelands for over 100 years. Focused crested wheatgrass breeding has been ongoing since the 1920s. These efforts resulted in the development of 13 cultivars adapted to western US and Canadian growing conditions. These cultivars establish rapidly, persist, and provide soil stabilization and a reliable feed source for domestic livestock and wildlife. To address ecological concerns and increase rangeland agriculture efficiency, crested wheatland breeding requires new emphases and techniques. This review covers the history of crested wheatgrass breeding and genetics in North America and discusses emerging methods and practices for contined improvement in the future.