Breeding perennial grasses for forage usage An experimental assessment of trait changes in diploid perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne L cultivars released in the last four decades
Jean-Paul Sampoux; Pierre Baudouin; Bernard Bayle; Vincent Béguier; Pierre Bourdon; Jean-François Chosson; François Deneufbourg; Christophe Galbrun; Marc Ghesquière; Dominique Noël; Wieslaw Pietraszek; Bernard Tharel; Anne Viguié
Field Crops Research 123(2): 117-129
Breeding to improve perennial grasses for forage usage aims to increase the whole-plant aerial biomass. However, the ability to increase the whole-plant yield by breeding may be questionable in grasses which are expected to reach an optimal leaf area index during grass stand growth rather rapidly. We carried out a field experiment aiming to compare herbage yield and other performances of seven natural populations and 21 cultivars of diploid perennial ryegrass registered on European National lists in the last 4 years. Cultivars were sampled in the spike emergence earliness range used for pasture usage, i.e. in the semi-late and late. Highlights: Breeding in semi-late and late perennial ryegrass increased yield by 3.2% per decade. Whole-plant yield was improved in summer and autumn but not in spring. Leaf and lamina lengths are associated with spring whole-plant yield. Breeding for high leaf elongation rate should improve spring yield. Seed yield is not negatively associated with whole-plant yield.