Forage Yield and Quality of a Brown Mid-Rib Mutant in Pearl Millet
- N. R. Degenhart,
- B. K. Werner and
- G. W. Burton
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) is used extensively as forage for livestock, and any improvement in forage digestibility may enhance feeding value. The effect of a pearl millet brown mid-rib gene (bmr) on forage quality and yield was evaluated using near-isogenic lines. An F1 and two backcrosses were made to an inbred line (T85DB) incorporate the bmr gene into a non-bmr background. From this crossing scheme, random F2 plants were selfed to produce F3 lines that were planted in a randomized complete-block yield trial in Tifton, GA, during 1990 and 1991. Random F2 plants from the same cross were planted in 1989 and 1991 to evaluate forage yield and quality differences of leaf sheath, leaf blade, and stem fractions from normal and brown mid-rib plants. Brown mid-rib lines yielded 77% as much forage as normal F3 lines. Forage in vitro dry matter digestibility was 5 percentage units greater for brown mid-rib lines compared with normal lines. Brown mid-rib F2 plants produced 73% as much stem biomass as the normal phenotype. Stem fraction digestibility of brown mid-rib plants was 11 percentage units greater than that from normal plants. The digestibility of leaf blade, leaf sheath, and head fractions were only 2.4, 3.6, and 3.6 percentage units, respectively, greater for brown mid-rib plants vs. normal plants. Negative pleiotrophic effects attributed to the bmr gene on forage yield for the genotype in this study may offset any advantages gained in forage digestibility.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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