Lucerne is the most important and widely grown legume crop in world pastoral agriculture. However, persistence is critical for most pastoral production systems and great strides have been made for increasing lucerne persistence across all production systems. The history, needed traits, and current and future developments of breeding for lucerne persistence are reviewed.
Crop and Pasture Science
Volume 63 Number 2 2012
New Zealand pastoral production accounts for approximately 55% of the export income. Genetic improvement programmes for livestock and pasture plants have been central to the development of the industry, however, gains in farm output from improved plant performance are more difficult to confirm than those from livestock improvement. To improve productivity of the industry, plant traits that positively influence pasture performance must be defined and translated into objectives for breeding programs.
CP11260Evaluation of a reduced-tillering (tin) gene in wheat lines grown across different production environments
Water deficit can cause reductions in wheat grain yield and increases in percent screenings (small grain). The incorporation of a tiller inhibition (tin) gene which reduces stem production per plant was investigated in terms of its effect on grain yield and screenings in multiple genetic backgrounds in field experiments across Australian production environments. Screenings were reduced by tin in water deficit environments and potential for selection of higher-yielding tin progeny exists for commercial line development for appropriate target environments.
A geographic diversity core collection of adzuki bean landraces from China were agronomically evaluated in Australia, and compared with a similar evaluation at multiple locations in China, Selections based on both grain yield and seed quality traits of colour and size were then compared with varieties derived from Japan, with the aim of identifying lines for targeting the Japanese market. Chinese accessions were superior to the Japanese in the sub-tropical eastern Australia, but not in temperate regions.
CP11193Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improve the growth and nodulation of the annual legume messina (Melilotus siculus) under saline and non-saline conditions
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonise the majority of land plants. They are known to enhance plant growth by increasing nutrient uptake such as phosphorus, which is essential for plant survival in salinised environments. The role of AMF in the growth improvement and rhizobial nodulation of messina, an important pasture legume for saline land, was investigated. It was found that AMF improved plant growth, survival and rhizobial nodulation primarily through improved P nutrition. The results show the potential of AMF to enhance the productivity of messina on saline land.
CP11224Assessment of gene flow in white clover (Trifolium repens L.) under field conditions in Australia using phenotypic and genetic markers
The possibility of unintended pollen flow from genetically modified (GM) crops into non-modified populations is an important aspect of biosafety studies. White clover, as an important pasture legume species, has been the subject of transgenic modification studies for a range of key traits. Gene flow in this species has been assessed using morphological and molecular genetic markers as a model system in a two-year study, providing information on the extent and nature of dispersion over distance.
CP12036Dry matter allocation in Medicago arborea and Medicago citrina in response to drought and defoliation
Sustainable animal feeding in dry regions benefits from forage species behaving as evergreens even in severe summer drought conditions. Perennial medics, as the western-Mediterranean endemic Medicago citrina, are promising species, maintaining leaves despite water stress conditions. In a climate change scenario, knowledge on medics’ behaviour under drought stress will provide summer solutions for animal feeding in dry lands.