1 .Oct.2015

Matching grass to boost yield and nitrogen use efficiency

Some people seem like they are made for each other. What about grasses – does the perfect couple exist? A new research project is aiming to answer that particular question.

Many people undoubtedly ask themselves: How do I find the best partner? Well, breeders at DLF ask themselves the same question on behalf of the forage grasses they are improving each year. Is it possible to localize the perfect match that will always ensure the best offspring? In order to answer the question the breeders have teamed up with scientists at Aarhus University. Together, they will test more than 500 crossing combinations in order to find the exact grass plants that give birth to the highest yielding and most nitrogen use efficient (NUE) offspring. While this is not breaking science, it definitely is investigating how two genetic profiles should look in order to for the optimum match.

By the use of genome wide selection (GWS), which is now part of DLF's forage breeding program, it is possible to predict a plants performance in relation to yield, disease resistance, digestibility, etc., based on its genetic profile. The new research will allow breeders to predict whether a cross between two parent plants will become a success or not. Such information will help with streamlining the breeding process and produce new high yielding NUE varieties for the benefit of the economy, the environment, and our climate.

The project also includes the Tystofte Foundation, who will conduct field trials for NUE determination. The project will run over the next four years.