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L. Development Of Drought-Tolerant Species - Pastures

Breed three cultivars of phalaris for acid soils, dry marginal areas and high rainfall zones

Oram, R.N. Dr; Ph: (02) 6246 5082; Fax: (02) 6246 5255;

Culvenor, R.A. Dr; Ph: (02) 6246 5092; Fax: (02) 6246 5255;

Research organisation: CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra ACT 2601

Sponsors: AWRAPO: Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation

Objectives: To complete the selection, pre-basic seed production, Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) submissions, selection of Head Licenses and release of three phalaris cultivars, one in each of 1995, 1996 and 1997. The first cultivar is a landcare type with 20 per cent better production than Holdfast and Sirosa on shallow, infertile, acid soils on groundwater recharge hills. The second cultivar is a drought-escaping type for dry, marginal districts, and the third is similar to cultivar Australian. All three cultivars have the Uneta seed retention genes and hence have cheaper seeds.

Methodology: The landcare type was selected for good survival and yield from 50 half-sib families growing in replicated rows at three Victorian sites and two ACT sites over two generations each of three years duration. Test soils were unfertilised and unlimed. Assessment was by visual rating each autumn and late winter, with a final herbage yield cut. Pollination at random is achieved by isolation during flowering in a pollen-proof glasshouse. The drought escaping cultivar was selected from Moroccan x seed retaining parents over five generations of spaced plants and one in multi-row plots at three dry sites in New South Wales. Drought was encountered in the third growing season, allowing selection for drought-resisting families that are the parents of the new cultivar. The third cultivar was formed by crossing Uneta x Australian and selecting 42 seed retainers in F2. Their open-pollinated progeny were grazed continuously in multi-row plots at Orange, Canberra and Hamilton. The most persistent families were chosen near the end of the third growing season, and their parents intercrossed to produce the new cultivar.

Progress: The project has been completed, and a new phase initiated by Dr R.A. Culvenor and Dr W.M. Kelman with support from the Woolmark Company. The objectives are to breed two cultivars, one that is winter-active and persistent, and the other more acid-tolerant. The prospects for breeding better phalaris cultivars for the north-western slopes of New South Wales are also being explored in collaboration with Dr S. Boschma, NSW Agriculture, Tamworth.

Period: starting date 1994-07; completion date 1997-06

Status: completed


Carlsson, I. T., Oram, R.N. and Surprenant, J. (1996). Reed canarygrass and other phalaris species. In. Cool-season forage grasses. Edited by L.E. Moser et al., Agronomy Monograph No. 34, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp. 569-604.

Culvenor, R.A. and Oram, R.N. (1996). Comparison of winter-active phalaris with the Australian cultivar under rotational grazing. 1. Basal area and plant density. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 36, 277-286.

Culvenor, R.A. and Oram, R.N. (1996). Comparison of winter-active phalaris with the Australian cultivar under rotational grazing. 2. Dry matter on offer, pasture composition and animal production. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 36, 287-297.

Leigh, J.H., Halsall, D.M., Müller, W.J., Ora,. R.N., Edlington, J.P. and Geissler, A.E. (1995). The role of allelopathy in legume decline in pastures. 3. Tolerances of subterranean clover lines to the allelopathic compounds released by phalaris residues. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 46, 1039-1049.

Oram, R.N. (1994). Effects of inbreeding on a seed-retaining cultivar of the perennial pasture grass, Phalaris aquatica L. Proceedings of the 7th International Congress of SABRAO, pp. 279-284.

Oram, R.N. (1996). Register of Australian Herbage Plant Cultivars: Phalaris aquatica L. cv. Landmaster. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 36, 913-914.

Oram, R.N. (1998). Phalaris aquatica 'Atlas 8G'. Australian Plant Varieties Journal 11(1), 26.

Oram, R.N. (1998). Phalaris aquatica 'Australian II'. Australian Plant Varieties Journal 11(2), 26.

Oram, R.N. and Culvenor, R.A. (1994). Pasture improvement in Australia. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 37, 329-339.

Oram, R.N. and Ridley, A.M. (1995). Quantitative genetic variation for acid soil tolerance in a Phalaris aquatica x P. arundinacea x P. aquatica backcross population. Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Soil Plant Interactions at low pH. Edited by R.A. Date et al., Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 459-463.


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