Genotype and Genotype × Environment Interaction Effects on Forage Yield and Quality of intermediate Wheatgrass in Swards
- Kenneth P. Vogel ,
- Patrick E. Reece and
- James T. Nichols
Genetic differences among cultivars or strains for specific traits can be significantly reduced or increased by differential genotypic responses to environments. The objective of this study was to determine the relative magnitude of genotype and genotype × environment interaction effects, which are due to differential responses, on forage yield and quality of intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey] when grown in seeded swards in the central Great Plains. Thirty-four strains (genotypes), which included cultivars, experimental strains, and PI lines, were grown in replicated trials at Mead, North Platte, and Alliance, NE. The three sites differed markedly in precipitation and length of growing season. There were significant differences among strains for all evaluated traits. Genotype & location and genotype & year interaction effects were not significant for in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), indicating that this trait is quite stable across environments. Genotype & location interaction effects were significant for forage yield and protein concentration; genotype & year effects were significant for forage yield. Spearman rank correlations, used to test for consistency of ranking of the strains across environments, were high and significant for IVDMD, but were low and usually not significant for forage yield. Improving IVDMD should be emphasized in intermediate wheatgrass breeding programs, since there is substantial genetic variation for IVDMD, it is stable across environments, and it can improve livestock production per hectare.
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