Agronomic Performance of Quackgrass and Hybrid Wheatgrass Populations
- M. D. Casler and
- W. H. Goodwin
Quackgrass [Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski] is troublesome wed that has found recent use as a parent in interspecific hybrids with other Triticeae grasses. The objective of this research was to determine the potential of quackgrass and interspecific hybrid populations, involving quackgrass as a parent, for use as forage crops in the northcentral USA. Field experiments were conducted between 1988 and 1995 at Arlington and Marshfield, WI to compare six quackgrass and four hybrid wheatgrass populations to check cultivars of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leysser), timothy (Phleum pratense L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinaceaSchreber), and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.). Under relatively normal to dry conditions, both quackgrass and hybrid wheatgrass had forage yields (7.56–7.77 Mg ha−1) in the middle of the range of most other species (5.03–8.94 Mg ha−1). However, on wetter soils, both quackgrass and hybrid wheatgrass had forage yields (6.28–6.39 Mg ha−1) similar to the means of the lowest yielding culfivars of the cultivated species (5.51–6.81 Mg ha−1). While quackgrass was reasonably adapted to mixtures with legumes, showing a mean grass concentration (492 g kg−1) within the range of cuitivars (355–563 g kg−1), hybrid wheatgrass was unadapted to mixtures with legumes, with grass concentration seldom greater than natural levels (43–75 g kg−1) and decreasing with age. Large genotype × environment interactions and differential adaptation of strains will limit the effectiveness of programs to recommend the use of either quackgrass or hybrid wheatgrass as cultivated forage crops in the north-central USA.
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