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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Yield, Quality, and Breeding of Pearl Millet ✕ Napiergrass Interspecific Hybrids1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 2, p. 358-360
    Received: July 23, 1979

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  1. Wayne W. Hanna and
  2. Warren G. Monson2



High quality forage production is needed in late summer and fall until frost. The pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum ✕ napiergrass (P. purpreum Schum.) interspecific hybrids have potential for producing high quality forage during this period but more than 1 year's data on a number of hybrids using different female parents is limited. In 1976, 1977, and 1978, 20 pearl millet ✕ napiergrass interspecific hybrids were seeded in the field in a Fuquay soil (Arenic Plinthic Paleudults : loamy, siliceous thermic) and evaluated for dry-matter yield percent in vitro dry-matter digestibility (IVDMD), percent crude protein, agronomic characteristics (seed Production, pest resistance, yield distribution), and breeding behavior (effects of male and female parents on dry matter yield). Most of the interspecific hybrids were equal to the best pearl millet hybrids in yield, IVDMD, and protein. In 1977 and 1978, six and two interspecific hybrids, respectively, were significantly (P = 0.05) higher in dry matter yield. One hybrid, Tift 23A ✕ N23, yielded 34 and 27% more dry matter in 1977 and 1978, respectively, than the best pearl millet hybrid. Hybrids with ‘Tift 23A1’ yielded over 25% more dry matter than hybrids with ‘Tift 23D2A1 when the same male parents were used on both female parents. One of the major advantages of the interspecific hybrids is that they produced almost 50% of their forage from after the middle of August until early December.

This study also showed that of the three female parents tested, Tift 23A1 produced the highest yielding hybrids and that much variability for maximizing yield exists among the napiergrass clones used as male parents in the interspecific hybrids.

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