Selection for Persistence of Tetraploid Ryegrasses and Festulolium in Mixture with Perennial Legumes
- Elissa M. Novy,
- M. D. Casler and
- R. R. Hill
Forage ryegrass species (Lolium spp.) are seldom utilized in north central and northeastern U.S. hay and pasture systems because of poor persistence in mixtures with common forage legumes. This study was conducted to (i) evaluate genetic responses to one cycle of phenotypic recurrent selection for persistence in tetrapioid perennial ryegrass (L. perenne L.), intermediate ryegrass (L. hybridum Hausskn.), and the meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Hudson) × Italian ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.) intergeneric hybrid, festulolium (Festulolium braunii K.A.), and (ii) identify specific adaptation responses of these populations selected in mLxture with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.). Surviving ryegrass and festulolium plants were selected in 1986 after 3 yr of hay production in mixtures with alfalfa, red clover, and birdsfoot trefoil at Arlington, WI, and Rock Springs, PA. The ability of Cycle 1 progeny to persist with each legume species was compared with those of parental cultivars in 1989, 1990, and 1991 at Arlington and Marshfleld, WI. Selection resulted in an increase in mixed-stand performance for perennial and intermediate ryegrass; grass ground cover increased by 5.2 and 3.6 percentage units for perennial and intermediate ryegrass, respectively, and the perennial ryegrass component of mixtures increased by 69 g kg−1. Mixture yield was usually unaffected by selection. Evidence for adaptive responses of the ryegrasses and festulolium to specific legume species was scant and inconsistent. Nevertheless, heritable variation for persistence in mixture with legumes was found, suggesting that small gains can be made toward breeding ryegrasses for improved adaptation to Wisconsin.
Copyright © 1995.