Evaluation of Progress in Annual Ryegrass (Lolium Multiflorum Lam.) Selected for Increased Winter Productivity
Type of Degreethesis
Agronomy and Soils
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Forage availability in the southeastern USA is limited during winter and supplemental feeding increases management costs. Therefore, development of a suitable cultivar with increased winter productivity would be a valuable contribution to animal agriculture. A phenotypic recurrent-selection breeding program was initiated in 2005 to improve the winter productivity of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.). This study was conducted to evaluate the progress from the selection to determine the worth of a newly developed population before releasing it as a cultivar. In a grazing trial, Cycle 2 appears to have higher ADG than Gulf and Marshall during winter months, which may be associated with higher biomass yield during those months. In the correlated study, we found selection for increased winter productivity resulted in more erect plants with early heading date and homogenous ploidy. In the soluble carbohydrates study, the plants outside the greenhouse had higher level of TNC than plants inside the greenhouse but there was no difference in TNC among cultivars within locations. Further grazing evaluations considering early seeding and grazing will be helpful to determine the worth of cycle 2 under grazing during the low forage availability months (December – February).