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Breeding and Genetics of Forage Crops to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Industrial Uses
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Forage crops constitute the foundation of livestock and dairy enterprises in the US and Canada while also serving vital environmental functions. This project addresses the genetic improvement of forage crops for traits involved in productivity, quality and industrial uses.
2011 Project Description
Two elite novel endophyte tall fescue populations developed by the University of Kentucky forage grass breeding project are being evaluated (forage yield, persistence under grazing pressure, and animal performance) prior to commercial release. Three cycles of selection have been completed in lowland switchgrass, focusing on dual-use (forage and/or biomass). A new parental nursery of eastern gamagrass germplasm was established in 2011. Forage yield from novel endophyte tall fescue trials from three locations was measured in 2011. The 24 entries include several endophyte-free and novel endophyte test populations as well as check varieties like 'Kentucky 31' in both common toxic endophyte-infected and endophyte-free forms.
New novel endophyte tall fescue varieties developed through this project will increase the options for livestock producers in the upper midwest. Breeding efforts in native warm season grasses help maintain or increase genetic diversity of potential biomass production.