Floret site utilization and reproductive tiller number are primary components of grain yield in intermediate wheatgrass spaced plants

Kayla R. Altendorf, Lee R. DeHaan, Garett C. Heineck, Xiaofei Zhang, James A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Perennial plants provide extensive environmental services and increasing their prevalence on the agricultural landscape is one way to improve sustainability. Direct domestication of intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey] as a perennial grain crop is underway, and selection has focused primarily on improving seed size and grain yield. Breeders lack understanding of grain yield and its relationship with component traits in this species. We characterized a large (n = 1,168) spaced plant nursery in St. Paul, MN, and Salina, KS, in 2017 and 2018 for a series of 13 yield component traits. In Year 2 in St. Paul, yield per plant and reproductive tiller number nearly doubled, whereas other yield components, including yield per spike, spikelets per spike, florets per spikelet, and thousand-grain weight, significantly decreased. Correlation analyses between traits highlighted positive associations of seven traits with grain yield. Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that when yield was measured on a yield per spike basis, floret site utilization was the primary contributor to yield, and when measured on a per-plant basis, reproductive tiller number was the primary contributor. The indirect effects of biomass and maturity traits on both measures of yield were limited. Future work should investigate the predictive ability of reproductive tiller counts in spaced plant and sward environments to inform how breeders assess and select for yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1088
Number of pages16
JournalCrop Science
Volume61
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute. The authors would like to thank Brett Heim and Marty Christians for technical assistance in processing and in the field. Thanks to Drs. Jo Heuschle, Mitch Hunter, and Jake Jungers for helpful conversation regarding yield components and structural equation modeling methodology. Thank you to University of Minnesota undergraduate students Jennifer LaValley, Charlotte Bonner, Ellen Goedtke, and 2017 and 2018 Land Institute summer interns for assistance in data collection. Thank you to the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee Program (MAST), specifically, Andressa Spuri Azarias, Arthur Martins, Oswaldo Birungi, Caroline Elmer, Phoebe Wanjira, and Mario Fagundes, without whom the meticulous evaluation of yield components would not have been possible. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Perennial Agriculture Project in conjunction with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and The Land Institute. The authors would like to thank Brett Heim and Marty Christians for technical assistance in processing and in the field. Thanks to Drs. Jo Heuschle, Mitch Hunter, and Jake Jungers for helpful conversation regarding yield components and structural equation modeling methodology. Thank you to University of Minnesota undergraduate students Jennifer LaValley, Charlotte Bonner, Ellen Goedtke, and 2017 and 2018 Land Institute summer interns for assistance in data collection. Thank you to the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee Program (MAST), specifically, Andressa Spuri Azarias, Arthur Martins, Oswaldo Birungi, Caroline Elmer, Phoebe Wanjira, and Mario Fagundes, without whom the meticulous evaluation of yield components would not have been possible.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Crop Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Crop Science Society of America

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