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Genetic Progress From 50 Years of Smooth Bromegrass Breeding


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 13-22
    Received: Dec 21, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): mdcasler@facstaff.wisc.edu
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  1. M. D. Casler *a,
  2. K. P. Vogelb,
  3. J. A. Balaskoc,
  4. J. D. Berdahld,
  5. D. A. Millere,
  6. J. L. Hansenf and
  7. J. O. Fritzg
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1597 USA
    b USDA/ARS, Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583 USA
    c Div. of Plant and Soil Sci., West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV 26506-6108 USA
    d USDA/ARS, Northern Great Plains Res. Ctr., Mandan, ND 58544 USA
    e Dep. of Crop Sci., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801 USA
    f Dep. of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853-1902 USA
    g Dep. of Agronomy, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS 66506-5501 USA


Since its introduction from Eurasia, smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) has become an important cool-season forage grass in North America. The objective of this study was to document breeding progress in smooth bromegrass between 1942 and 1995 in North America. Thirty cultivars or experimental populations were tested at up to seven sites in the eastern and central USA, with a range of soil types and climates. There have been small genetic changes in forage yield, brown leafspot resistance [caused by Pyrenophora bromi (Died) Drechs.], in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentration. Brown leafspot resistance increased gradually, averaging 0.21 units decade−1 Mean forage yield did not change for cultivars developed after 1942, but was 0.54 Mg ha−1 (7.2%) higher for the post-1942 group than in `Lincoln', a direct representative of smooth bromegrass introduced into North America. Selection for increased IVDMD led to an average increase in IVDMD of 9 g kg−1 (1.4%), an increase in forage yield of 0.33 Mg ha−1 (5.0%), and a decrease in NDF of −8 g kg−1 (−1.2%) in the post-1942 group . The slow rate of progress for smooth bromegrass forage yield is due to its complex polyploid inheritance, emphasis on traits other than forage yield, and relatively little concentrated attention from public and private breeders.

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