Alexandra M. Rucker, Agronomy Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Patricio Munoz, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Jose Carlos Batista Dubeux Jr., North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Marianna, FL, Joao Vendramini, 3401 Experiment Station, University of Florida, Ona, FL, William F. Anderson, Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Tifton, GA, Malay C. Saha, Noble Research Institute, LLC, Ardmore, OK and Brian M. Schwartz, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, University of Georgia - Tifton, Tifton, GA
Bermudagrass (Cyanodon dactylon) is a warm-season perennial grass with a rapid growth habit owing to the presence of stolons and rhizomes. Bermudagrass became one of the most important forage crops in the Southeastern United States due to its high yield, respond to fertilizer, quick drying for hay production, and good drought tolerance. However, most popular cultivars were developed a few decades ago and concerns about a new pest, and quality are being discussed regarding this species. In a collaborative project involving four states (Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and North Caroline) we are evaluating a large collection of 300 bermudagrass accessions to select parents for the next generation of bermudagrasses cultivars. The project consists of four locations, three in FL, one in GA, two in OK and one in NC. Field data is being collected for leaf height, plant coverage, stolon length, stolon number, flowering, bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM), disease, nitrogen content, fresh and dry weight and yield distribution. Ploidy is being determined for the whole collection to study cross compatibility of parents. Genetic parameters are being estimated (heritability, genetic correlation among traits and genotype-by-environment interaction) and breeding values are being predicted using linear mixed models. Our results showed large variation for almost all traits measured and thus a great potential to improve any of these traits. Total season yield, yield distribution and quality are traits of interest, but also is the breeding for new pest that has been found in the United States in the past few years, the BSM. Additionally, a project evaluating the Nitrogen efficiency and nitrogen removal capacity of selected extreme genotyped is being evaluated. This poster will show the preliminary results of this new breeding program. Our program has a vested interest in introducing traits with ecological services into bermudagrass along with producing a high quality product for SE growers.