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ARS Home » Plains Area » Woodward, Oklahoma » Rangeland and Pasture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393909

Research Project: Sustaining Southern Plains Landscapes through Improved Plant Genetics and Sound Forage-Livestock Production Systems

Location: Rangeland and Pasture Research

Title: Germination and field establishment of Indiangrass populations selected for greater laboratory seed germination in simulated dry conditions

Author
item Springer, Timothy
item Moffet, Corey

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2022
Publication Date: 7/30/2022
Citation: Springer, T.L., Moffet, C. 2022. Germination and field establishment of Indiangrass populations selected for greater laboratory seed germination in simulated dry conditions. Crop Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/csc2.20822.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/csc2.20822

Interpretive Summary: Rapid seed germination followed by rapid seedling establishment are important traits for field establishment of native grasses under variable climatic conditions. Scientists at the USDA-ARS Southern Plains Range Research Station in Woodward, Oklahoma studied the effects of selection on germination and establishment of Indiangrass populations. Two cycles of recurrent selection successfully increased the 7-d laboratory seed germination of Indiangrass in a low water potential. The spikelet mass of Indiangrass was also increased after two selection cycles. Seeds with improved 7-d laboratory germination had better field emergence and produced stands with greater plant population densities. The data suggested that selection for increased laboratory seed germination in a low water potential reduces seed dormancy and improves the seedling vigor of Indiangrass, which has been the goals of Indiangrass plant breeding research dating back to the 1950’s. Developing plant materials with rapid seed germination and seedling vigor is possible using recurrent selection for improved laboratory seed germination in a low water potential.

Technical Abstract: Rapid seed germination followed by rapid seedling establishment are important traits for field establishment of grasses under variable climatic conditions. This research was designed to improve the seed germination of three Indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash] populations through two cycles of recurrent selection and to field test the nine populations. Two cycles of recurrent selection were used to develop C1 and C2 populations from three previously unselected populations of Indiangrass. Cycle 1 consisted of germinating 3500 open-pollinated seeds of each C0 population in water of -0.8 MPa potential for 7-day. All germinated seeds within seven days were selected to create three C1 populations. Cycle 2 selection was like Cycle 1, except that C1 populations were used to develop three C2 populations. To test the effects of selection, four 50-spikelet samples of the nine Indiangrass populations were germinated in water of -0.8 and 0 MPa potentials for 7-d for two seed harvests. Both water potentials produced a population (P) × selection generation (G) interaction (P = .05). Different rates of gain among the Indiangrass populations for water potential treatments (-0.8 and 0 MPa) described the interactions. On average, C1 and C2 populations emerged and survived better than C0 populations in the field. Thus, the data suggest that recurrent selection for increased laboratory seed germination of Indiangrass in a low water potential not only improved the 7-d laboratory seed germination, but seed mass and stand establishment as well.