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Winter Survival in Switchgrass Populations Bred for High IVDMD


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 42 No. 6, p. 1857-1862
    Received: Aug 8, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): kpv@unlserve.unl.edu
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  1. K. P. Vogel *a,
  2. A. A. Hopkinsb,
  3. K. J. Moorec,
  4. K. D. Johnsond and
  5. I. T. Carlsonc
  1. a USDA-ARS, 344 Keim Hall, P.O. Box 830937, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0937
    b Noble Foundation, P.O. Box 2180, Ardmore, OK 73402
    c Dep. of Agronomy, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011
    d Dep. of Agronomy, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907-1150, Dep. of Agronomy, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011 respectively


In vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) was improved by three cycles (C) of recurrent selection in a switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) population but significant winter kill occurred in the Cycle 4 (C4) mass selection nursery. Stand density losses in strains differing in IVDMD also were noted in pastures intensively grazed for 3 yr. Two studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of genetic changes in IVDMD on plant survival of switchgrass. Seed was harvested from the original high IVDMD C3 parent clones to produce half-sib family seedlings that were planted into a replicated half-sib progeny evaluation nursery in 1991 at Mead, NE. This nursery was harvested in 1993 and 1995 for biomass yield after plants had headed, forage was analyzed for IVDMD, and plant survival was determined. There were significant differences among the families for biomass yield, IVDMD, and plant survival. Among the half-sib families, the correlations of 1993 and 1995 IVDMD with 1995 survival were not significant nor were the correlations between 1993 and 1995 yields and 1995 stands. In the C3 high IVDMD populations, some families had decreased winter survival but other families had high IVDMD and good survival. Randomly selected plants from pasture trials (PC or pasture clones) of ‘Trailblazer’ and ‘Pathfinder’ were polycrossed and the resulting bulk populations were evaluated with parent populations in replicated sward trials at three locations along with the High IVDMD C3 population and its derived winter survival (WS) population produced by harvesting bulk seed from surviving plants in the C4 selection nursery. Differences among populations for stand were not detected in the sward trials, likely because survival and IVDMD have low correlations within populations. It should be feasible to continue to breed for high IVDMD in switchgrass but survival will need to be an additional selection criterion.

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Copyright © 2002. Crop Science Society of AmericaPublished in Crop Sci.42:1857–1862.