Variation Within Accessions of Switchgrass Germplasm for Dry Matter Yield and Forage Quality in a Semiarid Environment
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is valued for conservation, forage, and biofuel in many areas of North America and worldwide. The extent of switchgrass productivity has not been characterized under semiarid conditions. A study was designed to characterize the variation within a set of 114 switchgrass germplasm accessions and six switchgrass cultivars for dry matter yield, crude protein, in vitro true digestibility, and neutral detergent fiber under limited irrigation conditions at a Millville, UT, field site from 2008 to 2010. Variation among the accessions for each of these traits was greater than zero within individual harvests and across the four harvests. Accession × harvest variation was also greater than zero for each trait. A set of 11 switchgrass accessions, including the cultivar ‘Cave-in-Rock’, were identified that had consistently high phenotypic values for each of the traits at the several harvests. The highest dry matter yield values at any harvest (∼4 Mg ha−1) were low compared to other regions of the United States. However, the identified genetic variation for dry matter yield and forage quality was sufficient to improve germplasm for these traits either for use in semiarid regions or to increase the drought tolerance of germplasm used in wetter regions.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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