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Variation in Agronomic and Morphological Traits among Russian Wildrye Accessions


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 39 No. 6, p. 1890-1895
    Received: Dec 17, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): berdahlj@mandan.ars.usda.gov
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  1. J. D. Berdahl *a,
  2. H. F. Maylandb,
  3. K. H. Asayc and
  4. P. G. Jeffersond
  1. a USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Research Lab., P.O. Box 459, Mandan, ND 58554 USA
    b USDA-ARS, Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory, 3793 N, 3600 E., Kimberly, ID 83341 USA
    c USDA-ARS, Forage and Range Research Lab., Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322 USA
    d Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre, P.O. Box 1030, Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada S9H 3X2


Russian wildrye [Psathyrostachys juncea (Fischer) Nevski] accessions in the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System have not been adequately characterized for agronomic and morphological traits. Such characterization would be helpful in development of improved cultivars. Objectives of this study were to (i) measure consistency of dry-matter and seed yields as well as plant height and vigor of 65 Russian wildrye accessions and four cultivars at three diverse test sites, (ii) characterize phenotypic diversity among these accessions using cluster analysis, and (iii) define needs for future evaluation and collection of Russian wildrye germplasm. Field tests were conducted at Logan, UT; Mandan, ND; and Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. Dry-matter and seed yields were not consistent among accessions and cultivars at the three locations, and testing at each location was necessary to identify accessions that were best suited to a specific location. Variance component estimates were small and of little consequence for accession × year interaction effects. The 69 entries were grouped into 10 clusters based on multivariate analysis of 17 classification variables. Accessions in Cluster 3 averaged well above the overall test mean for dry-matter yield, seed yield, and plant vigor and have high utility in plant breeding programs in North America. Only four accessions had high levels of resistance to Septoria spraguei Uecker & J.M. Krupinsky, an important foliar disease. Accessions from a defined geographic area tended to cluster, but some accessions from a particular area were spread among several clusters. This emphasizes the value of sampling diverse collection sites within a defined geographic area.

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