Designing grass cuiltivars for droughts and floods

Authors Organisations
Type Chapter
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBreeding Strategies for Sustainable Forage and Turf Grass Improvement
EditorsSusanne Barth, Dan Milbourne
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-4555-1
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-4554-4, 9400745540
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2012
EventEucarpia Fodder Crops and Amenity Section Meeting - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 04 Sep 201108 Sep 2011


ConferenceEucarpia Fodder Crops and Amenity Section Meeting
CityDublin, Ireland
Period04 Sep 201108 Sep 2011
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Temperate productive grasslands are often located in areas of high rainfall prone to flooding, but even here moderate summer droughts occur with regularity causing significant yield reductions. Grasslands capable of resisting both water excess and deficit are required. Alternative breeding technologies are employed to combine as Festulolium cultivars the desirable traits of Lolium and Festuca species, and also through their enhanced root systems, improve soil structures and hydrology. An amphiploid L. perenne - F. pratensis cultivar can significantly reduce rainfall runoff compared to either its parental species. Evidence would indicate this was due to an initial intensive root growth followed by extensive root senescence. This would likely alter soil structure and increase soil porosity and moisture retention providing an ecosystem service by both combating run-off subsequent to heavy rainfall and increasing soil water supply during dry periods. In an alternative programme aimed at improving drought resistance in Lolium, genes for drought resistance were transferred from Festuca arundinacea var glaucescens. These significantly increased water-use-efficiency and forage yield of Lolium under soil water deficit conditions with no compromise to forage quality.