Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
Crop and Pasture Science

Crop and Pasture Science

Volume 64 Number 10 2013

CP13311Responses of old and modern cereals to CO2-fertilisation

Jürgen Franzaring, Ingo Holz and Andreas Fangmeier
pp. 943-956

Old crop cultivars may be better adapted to climate change than recent cultivars and profit more from the CO2 fertilisation effect. The aim of the study was to screen the responses of a large number of ancient and modern cereals to a greater availability of CO2. In most of the tested cereals, we found a significant increase in seed biomass and a reduction in nitrogen concentration, but seed quality was maintained in some old cereals.


Durum wheat is a major staple food crop for more than one third of the world population and is the main staple food crop where its productivity is significantly affected by salinity. In this study, we identified molecular markers associated with salinity-tolerance traits and determined their genetic value for indirect selection. This study revealed molecular markers closely linked to genes for agronomically important traits which would be useful tools for indirect selection in durum wheat breeding programs under saline conditions.


Localised supply of phosphorus plus ammonium improves root proliferation and nutrient uptake by maize on calcareous soils. A soil column study was conducted to test the effect of nitrogen forms and placements on maize growth, and we found that modifying root spatial distribution by banding P plus ammonium can enhance nutrient uptake rates. The results indicate that engineering root spatial distribution through changing nutrient-supply intensity and placement may be an effective strategy to enhance nutrient use efficiency and crop production.


This study focused on interaction of rhizosphere processes between different plant species in intercropping, and indicated diffusion of protons and carboxylates contributed to enhancements of P uptake in the intercropping system. The observations convinced the extensive of rhizosphere processes had an important role on species interaction.

CP13275Effect of competition from a C4 grass on the phosphorus response of a subtropical legume

Rebecca E. Haling, Chris D. Campbell, Matthew K. Tighe and Chris N. Guppy
pp. 985-992

Legumes play an important role in supplying nitrogen to pasture systems, yet legumes are often out-competed by grasses. This paper investigated whether this is due to belowground competition between the grass and legume for phosphorus. The phosphorus requirement of the legume was not found to be affected by competition from a grass, however, the overall better resource use efficiency of the grass might explain the ability of grasses to out-compete legumes in pasture systems.

CP13206Global genetic diversity in oilseed Brassica rapa

Annisa, S. Chen and W. A. Cowling
pp. 993-1007

Genetic diversity was extremely high in a global collection of oilseed types of Brassica rapa, commonly known as field mustard or field rape, when examined by simple sequence repeat molecular markers. Three genetic groups existed: South Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and northern Europe. This diverse gene pool will be used by plant breeders to select for valuable economic traits, such as heat and drought tolerance, and for genetic improvement of canola (B. napus) and other oilseed Brassica species.


With changing climate, lack of water and high temperatures can dramatically reduce the performance of crop plants in feeding livestock worldwide. Identifying well adapted varieties of crops in hot dry environments is time consuming but quick screening tools evaluated in this research on Napier grass leaves for use in Africa did not provide reliable estimates of forage production or forage quality. While future work needs to explore alternative tests, evaluation in the field environment will remain critical.


In natural grasslands, diversity in plant species increases growth and decreases leaching but it is not known if this is also true for diverse ryegrasses types in managed pastures such as those found in dairy farms. We used a simulation model to test this and found a greater linkage to individual performance than to diversity. Our work suggests that it is better to include individual performers than a diversity of ryegrasses in a pasture.

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