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Breeding Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Mixture with Grasses

Group of Fodder Crop Breeding, Agroscope, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland
UFA-Revue, 8401 Winterthur, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Monika Messmer, Vladimir Meglič and Ferdinando Branca
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8929;
Received: 27 June 2021 / Revised: 2 August 2021 / Accepted: 5 August 2021 / Published: 10 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breeding and Seed Sector Innovations for Organic Food Systems)
Cultivation of forage mixtures offers several advantages over monocultures, but forage legumes like alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) are mostly bred in pure stands. Our goal was to assess the extent of accession-by-cultivation system interaction when alfalfa plants are grown in pure stands or in an easily adaptable nursery system together with their companion grasses, thereby determining the system most suitable for selection in mixture. Spaced plants of 50 alfalfa accessions were grown on bare soil as control treatment (CONV), in a sown sward of short growing lawn cultivars of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and red fescue (F. rubra L.) (LAWN), and in a sown sward of taller forage cultivars of the same species (FORA). Accession-by-cultivation system interaction variances were large for growth habit but small for vigor. Phenotypic correlation coefficients (rp) among the cultivation systems were high for vigor, whereby LAWN was somewhat more predictive for FORA (rp, FORALAWN = 0.83) than CONV (rp, FORACONV = 0.77). Observed accession-by-genotype interactions can be used pro or contra necessity for selection in mixture. However, the LAWN cultivation system might be a good compromise for practical breeding, allowing to account for given competition effects among species and to easily assess traits in the nursery. View Full-Text
Keywords: mixed cropping; interaction; nursery mixed cropping; interaction; nursery
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MDPI and ACS Style

Grieder, C.; Kempf, K.; Schubiger, F.X. Breeding Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Mixture with Grasses. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8929.

AMA Style

Grieder C, Kempf K, Schubiger FX. Breeding Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Mixture with Grasses. Sustainability. 2021; 13(16):8929.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Grieder, Christoph, Katharina Kempf, and Franz X. Schubiger 2021. "Breeding Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Mixture with Grasses" Sustainability 13, no. 16: 8929.

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