Special Issue "Genetics and Management of Perennial Forage Crops"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Susanne Barth
Website
Guest Editor
Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Environment and Land Use Programme, Carlow, Ireland
Interests: forage species, grass weeds; cereals; genetic resources; reproductive traits including self-incompatibility and flowering time; control of meiotic recombination; biomass yield and heterosis; water soluble carbohydrates; herbicides resistance in grasses and abiotic stresses

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Perennial grasslands are a global resource. Given their geographical distribution, a huge range of perennial forage species can be found in grasslands. Perennial grassland species need to be adapted to various environmental and biotic factors. Often, grasslands are being grown on challenging soils and locations, marginal lands, which are not suitable for other agricultural uses. Perennial grasslands also have important ecosystems functions by providing species rich habits and contribute positively to soil carbon balance. Grasslands can be improved by management of species suitable to their use and species grown, but can be also improved with breeding better adapted and resistant and higher yielding varieties within species. Several grassland species are yet undomesticated and are being used as ecotypes without further forage improvement. Breeding programmes are lagging behind due the huge range of species to be improved, due to challenging outsets like allogamy and if pollinators are required. Further challenges are also still a lack of genomic resources for several species and suitable grassland management protocols in a changing climate and in a changing use. We are inviting articles on defining traits for forage improvement, including complex genetic traits, forage genetic resources, the development of genomic resources and their application in genome wide association studies and genetic selection, breeding strategies for grassland species, novel and improved forage management strategies and alternative uses of forage species.

Dr. Susanne Barth
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forage species
  • grasslands management
  • genetic resources
  • breeding complex traits
  • association studies
  • genomic selection
  • alternative uses
  • soil condition
  • quality traits
  • persistency
  • digestibility
  • watersoluble sugar
  • fibre content
  • disease resistance
  • stocking rate
  • winter hardiness
  • flooding
  • drought
  • salinity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Genotyping by Sequencing and Plastome Analysis Finds High Genetic Variability and Geographical Structure in Dactylis glomerata L. in Northwest Europe Despite Lack of Ploidy Variation
Agronomy 2019, 9(7), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9070342 - 28 Jun 2019
Abstract
Large collections of the forage and bioenergy grass Dactylis glomerata were made in northwest (NW) Europe along east to west and north to south clines for genetic resource conservation and to inform breeding programmes of genetic diversity, genepools, and ploidy. Leaves were sampled [...] Read more.
Large collections of the forage and bioenergy grass Dactylis glomerata were made in northwest (NW) Europe along east to west and north to south clines for genetic resource conservation and to inform breeding programmes of genetic diversity, genepools, and ploidy. Leaves were sampled for genetic analysis and seed and rhizome for ex-situ conservation. Genotyping by sequencing (GBS) was used to assay nuclear DNA diversity and plastome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery was undertaken using a long-read PCR and MiSeq approach. Nuclear and plastid SNPs were analysed by principal component analysis (PCA) to compare genotypes. Flow cytometry revealed that all samples were tetraploid, but some genome size variation was recorded. GBS detected an average of approximately 10,000 to 15,000 SNPs per country sampled. The highest average number of private SNPs was recorded in Poland (median ca. 2000). Plastid DNA variation was also high (1466 SNPs, 17 SNPs/kbp). GBS data, and to a lesser extent plastome data, also show that genetic variation is structured geographically in NW Europe with loose clustering matching the country of plant origin. The results reveal extensive genetic diversity and genetic structuring in this versatile allogamous species despite lack of ploidy variation and high levels of human mediated geneflow via planting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Management of Perennial Forage Crops)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
Resistance of Multiple Diploid and Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) Varieties to Three Projected Drought Scenarios for the UK in 2080
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030159 - 26 Mar 2019
Abstract
Forage plants underpin the livestock industry. Selective breeding, including polyploidization, where genome size is increased by whole genome duplication, changes the productivity and stress tolerance of new varieties. We conducted a growth chamber experiment to investigate the likely responses of Lolium perenne L. [...] Read more.
Forage plants underpin the livestock industry. Selective breeding, including polyploidization, where genome size is increased by whole genome duplication, changes the productivity and stress tolerance of new varieties. We conducted a growth chamber experiment to investigate the likely responses of Lolium perenne L. to drought, testing four diploid and four tetraploid varieties. We simulated projected spring and summer temperatures for the South-West of England in 2080, applying three projected rainfall scenarios, which varied in drought severity. Drought caused a reduction in productivity, but there was substantial variation between varieties (up to 82%), with the optimal variety changing depending on drought severity. Across three harvests, productivity declined by 43% and 27% (dry biomass) for the severe and likely drought scenarios, respectively. In the final harvest, tetraploids exhibited a greater biomass under severe drought, whereas diploids had a greater biomass under the current rainfall and likely drought scenarios. Longer stomata were observed in tetraploids; however, stomatal conductance was not significantly different between ploidy levels. Trait selection will be important for future drought adaptation. Local climate projections will need to be consulted when selecting L. perenne varieties to tolerate the spatially variable reductions in future rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Management of Perennial Forage Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity of Winter-Active Lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) to Different Grazing Regimes
Agronomy 2018, 8(7), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070124 - 19 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa L.) is the key forage for grazing in dryland temperate regions around the world. While rotational grazing of lucerne is recommended, in southern Australia the intervals between grazing events are often chosen in an opportunistic manner, to meet livestock [...] Read more.
Lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa L.) is the key forage for grazing in dryland temperate regions around the world. While rotational grazing of lucerne is recommended, in southern Australia the intervals between grazing events are often chosen in an opportunistic manner, to meet livestock production targets and utilise excessive spring and summer growth. To assess whether the persistence of lucerne is sensitive to variations in rotational grazing management practice, we report on an experiment with four sheep grazing treatments that was conducted for 2.5 years, including three summers, in southern New South Wales. The grazing management treatments were a crash-grazing control, frequent grazing, feed-based rotational grazing and time-based rotational grazing, replicated four times. The number of grazing events, percentage of time under grazing, lucerne top dry matter (DM) at the beginning and end of grazing periods and plant density were measured. The results relating to number of grazing events, percentage of time grazing and DM removed during grazing indicated that four grazing practices had been achieved. The treatments all had significant periods of rest for at least 73% of time and were empirically different in their approach but resulted in similar grazing pressures, in terms of overall pasture removed during grazing. Nevertheless, there was little difference in lucerne densities between grazing treatments over the life of the experiment. We conclude that there is flexibility in the rotational management of grazed lucerne provided adequate rest periods are part of the management program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Management of Perennial Forage Crops)
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