Perennial grains are demonstrating a greater probability of occupying land currently dedicated to other agricultural production. Arable land that is currently in use for forage or annual crop production becomes utilized. Breeding materials for the introduction of perennial grains directly into the human food chain has required utilizing existing plant materials in the domestication of species or manufacturing diverse crosses to introduce perenniality into existing crops. In the domestication of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium (Host), Barkworth and Dewey), existing forage cultivars or plant accessions were used to develop populations selected for grain production. A comparison of Cycle 3 materials from The Land Institute (TLI), Salina, KS, USA to USDA-Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) accessions took place under space-planted field conditions at Carman, MB, Canada from 2011 to 2014. One hundred plants (75 TLI and 25 GRIN identified in May 2012) were followed through three seed harvests cycles with phenological, morphological and agronomic traits measured throughout. Selection for seed productivity (TLI materials) reduced the importance of biomass plant-1 on seed yield plant-1, leading to an increase in harvest index. Principal component analysis demonstrated the separation of the germplasm sources and the differential impact of years on the performance of all accessions. Path coefficient analysis also indicated that plant biomass production was of less importance on seed yield plant-1 in the TLI materials. Analysis removing area plant-1 as a factor increased both the importance of biomass and heads on seed yield cm-2 in the TLI materials, especially in the first two seed production years. Plant differences due to selection appear to have reduced overall plant area and increased harvest index in the TLI materials, indicating progress for grain yield under selection. However, a greater understanding of the dynamics within a seed production field is needed to provide insight into the development of more effective selection criteria for long-term field level production.
Cattani, D. J., & Asselin, S. R. (2018). Has selection for grain yield altered intermediate wheatgrass? Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030688