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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR PASTURES AND RANGELANDS IN THE TEMPERATE SEMIARID REGIONS OF THE WESTERN U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Dry matter yield, heading date, and plant mortality of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) subspecies in a semi-arid environment

Authors
item Bushman, Shaun
item Robins, Joseph
item Jensen, Kevin

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2011
Publication Date: March 5, 2011
Citation: Bushman, B.S., J.G. Robins, and K.B. Jensen, 2011. Dry matter yield, heading date, and plant mortality of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) subspecies in a semi-arid environment. Crop Sci. 52:745-751.

Interpretive Summary: Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) is a highly variable, cool-season forage grass naturalized to nearly every continent. In the semi-arid western U.S., orchardgrass must produce forage under a semi-arid summer season where supplemental irrigation is necessary, survive freezing winter temperatures, and yield when grown with later-maturing legumes. Collection efforts have garnered a diverse array of orchardgrass that includes a number of subspecies, yet none of these have been evaluated for orchardgrass breeding improvement potential in a semi-arid cool-season environment. In this study, orchardgrass subspecies from high elevation origins, Mediterranean origins, and those considered as ancestral to current cultivars were evaluated from dry matter yield, heading date, and plant mortality under irrigation and under non-irrigation. These accessions were compared to the cultivars Potomac, Paiute, and Latar. Accessions of high elevation subspecies, and three of four Mediterranean subspecies, showed significant plant mortality. The cultivars, ssp. woronowii accessions, and ssp. aschersoniana accessions did not have significant plant mortality. Heading dates varied over 22 days, with cultivars among the earliest heading entries. For dray matter yield (DMY), two accessions of ssp. woronowii showed equal or greater values than the three cultivars. Accessions with improved DMY, and later heading dates, over the cultivars were found, with potential to be used in orchardgrass selection and improvement in semi-arid, cool-season environments.

Technical Abstract: Orchardgrass(Dactylis glomerata L.) is a highly variable, cool-season forage grass naturalized to nearly every continent. In the semi-arid western U.S., orchardgrass must produce forage under a semi-arid summer season where supplemental irrigation is necessary, survive freezing winter temperatures, and yield when grown with later-maturing legumes. Collection efforts have garnered a diverse array of orchardgrass that includes a number of subspecies, yet none of these have been evaluated for orchardgrass breeding improvement potential in a semi-arid cool-season environment. In this study, orchardgrass subspecies from high elevation origins, Mediterranean origins, and those considered as ancestral to current cultivars were evaluated from dry matter yield, heading date, and plant motality under irrigation and under non-irrigation. These accessions were compared to the cultivars Potomac, Paiute, and Latar. Accessions of high elevation subspecies, and three of four Mediterranean subspecies, showed signiicant plant mortality. The cultivars, ssp. woronowii accessions, and ssp. aschersoniana accessions did not have significant plant mortality. Heading dates varied over 22 days, with cultivars among the earliest heading entries. For dray matter yield (DMY), two accessions of ssp. woronowii showed equal or greater values than the three cultivars. Accessions with improved DMY, and later heading dates, over the cultivars were found, with potential to be used in orchardgrass selection and improvement in semi-arid, cool-season environments.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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