NE1710: Improving Forage and Bioenergy Crops for Better Adaptation, Resilience, and Flexibility

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Inactive/Terminating

SAES-422 Reports

Annual/Termination Reports:

[06/25/2018] [06/19/2019] [06/24/2020] [10/03/2021] [06/26/2022]

Date of Annual Report: 06/25/2018

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 06/04/2018 - 06/04/2018
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2017 - 09/30/2018


Don Viands – Cornell Univ. (New York, U.S.A)
Bill Biligetu – Univ. Saskatchewan (CAN)
Heathcliffe Riday – USDA-Diary Forage Research Center (Wisconsin, U.S.A)
Nancy Ehlke – Univ. Minnesota (U.S.A)
Michael Peel – USDA-Agricultural Research Service (Utah, U.S.A)
Charlie Brummer – Univ. California – Davis (U.S.A.)
Arvid Boe – South Dakota State Univ. (U.S.A.)
Jesse Morrison – Mississippi State Univ. (U.S.A.)
Ali Missaoui – Univ. Georgia (U.S.A.)
Solen Rocher – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Quebec, CAN)
Annie Claessens – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Quebec, CAN)
Kathleen Glover – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)
Yousef Papadopoulos – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)
Maria Monteros – Noble Foundation (Oklahoma, USA)
Brian Irish – USDA-ARS (Washington, USA)
Ann Marie Thro – USDA-NIFA (Washington, DC, USA)
Brian Baldwin – Mississippi State Univ. (Mississippi, USA)
D.K. Lee – Univ. of Illinois (Illinois, USA)
Lan Xu – South Dakota State Univ. (U.S.A.)
Michael Casler – USDA-ARS, US Dairy and Forage Research Lab (Wisconsin, USA)
Joseph Robins – USDA-Agricultural Research Service (Utah, U.S.A)

Brief Summary of Minutes

Opening and Introduction:

  1. Call to order, 8:50 AM

  2. Mike peel (ARS Utah) opened the meeting by welcoming the group. Attendees introduced themselves.

  • This is the first official meeting as the NE1710 officially started on October 1,

  1. Comments from NIFA:

Ann Marie Thro  (NIFA) led the comments with emphasis on the role of the program leader at NIFA.

  • “The bottom line to help you all get money and help us get money to you”.

  • Cards of program specialists were circulated.

  • The Big task of the specialists is to answer questions: Give us a call and will answer them or help find the answer.

  • There is a new acting director in NIFA on loan from ARS, Thomas Shanower. He is entomologist by training. He worked 20-30 years in the Pacific west area as associate director and in international agriculture.

  • Those interested in the funding that USDA offers: one is a list of competitive grants, she circulated, including for alfalfa research. Budget for these grants, National program leader names and contacts are listed--you can call them with questions.

  • Two sources of funding of interest to this group: Hatch projects and multistate projects. For each experiment station, 25% of the Hatch funds are for multistate projects. In the past 3 years, Hatch funds have been flat. The alfalfa research funding increased last year and decreased this year. A document shows Explanatory notes of funding proposed for next year’s budget (document circulated). Ann will send information on where to find them.

  • Topics to help NIFA get funding include listening sessions. You can find a verbatim transcript online and input from last year under NIFA listening sessions. Most of the comments last year came from Nutrition. It would be worth to think about input and contribute individually or as group to direct the agency in directing discretionary funding and to answer to congress.

  • The annual reports you write, especially the impact and outcome statements, let us know what was achieved. If not sure how to report it, call us. They help justify what you do.

  • Viands (Cornell) commented that a couple of people from NIFA called to offer a workshop on writing impact statements to NE1710, but they later declined for a different schedule. They were going to come to this group’s meeting this morning.

  • Papadopoulos (AAFC) commented that in the past, each of us submitted an annual report that included impact statements, and it gives indication on to what other people are doing.

    • Viands: This is part of the end report.

  • Ann: sent around a list of state liaisons from NIFA.

    • Missaoui (UGA) asked what is the role of the state liaison?

    • Ann Marie: The Deans and station directors submit a report accountability from Hatch funds, and the state liaisons are the ones who review them. You can call them and find out more about them.

  • The Impact statements are the most read part. They are non-technical summaries written so that a congressional rep can read them. They help your area of research attract more funding.

  • Papadopoulos and Ann Marie discussed NIFA funding to Canadian researchers.

    • Ann Marie confirmed that funding can go international if the lead is from the US and they can benefit the US. These are mostly AFRI and competitive grants. Hatch funding cannot go international PIs because they are tied to the state.

  • NE1010 attracted most funding other than Hatch. You can view funding on a website at gateway to find out how much NE1010 got in funding. Every proposal funding is there.

    • Viands commented that this might be important when we write the proposal for the next 5-year period!

  • Viands (Cornell) asked if everyone was an official member of NE1710.

    • Papadopoulos (AAFC) replied that Canadians have been a part of the group. Their department encourages participation. Not sure if they are official and want to find out the process for Canadian to have official status.

    • Don will find and send information.

Open discussion on NE1710 projects by objectives and forage species

Mike Peel commented that these are brand new projects. Some people have reports especially those from NE1010.

  1. Developing broadly adapted, climate resilient forages for sustainable cropping systems.

Sub-objective 1.1. Developing regionally adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools.

  • Papadopoulos (AAFC): Circulated his project report, and explained the part of the projects that belong to 1710. The first project is with H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin).

  • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) commented that currently there are no sub-projects and overviewed 1.1.  

    • Four northern alfalfa pools are being evaluated (Central Asian, Northern Afghanistan, Turkish, Siberian, Balkan, North Europeans pool,)

    • Have received data from New York, Quebec, Wisconsin, Lethbridge, and Davis.

    • Will make selections from the evaluation and release material as PIs.

    • Started collecting data. This started as AFRP project to do pre-breeding on accessions.

    • There are other germplasm developing projects that can be added as sub-objectives.

    • Brummer (UC Davis): Discussed an AFRP project aimed at maximizing recombination in Northern and Southern germplasms. Broadly speaking, lined 4 pools in California and can add southeast. 

    • Page 11 of the proposal: germplasm pool development describes the tasks and the proposed pools.

    • Viands (Cornell) asked about the number of people cooperating on these projects.

      • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) replied that this is why it needs to have sub-objectives.

    • Brummer (UC Davis) showed a presentation on the layout of the project based on Simmons 1993. Base broadening of germplasm over time. Take germplasm collection, pre-breed. This is something the community should do and add germplasm to breeding material. Large-scale number, wide range of entries, crude selection. Make 5% selection and feed it back to the pool. The general idea are geographic origin may have difference in genetics.

    • Brian Irish asked whether the basis of defining the pools is strictly based on passport data.

      • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) replied that he consulted Russian databases and based on the name. You can track where in the former USSR they originated from (exact region). You can do the same for Chinese material.

    • Northern pool: H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) completed the first cycle of selection; general characterization was mostly visual, and he move quickly to selection. Percent selection 5-8% that feeds back to the pools (maintaining the same pools) unless molecular data shows otherwise; in that case we need to reconsider the pools. Checks are used such as ‘Vernal’ for comparison.

    • Viands (Cornell) commented: pleased this is happening because this was suggested 25-30 years ago and never took off the ground because breeders in companies were not willing to have it done.

    • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin): All the data collected are visual, and it will be fed back into the pools rather than expanding the collection. These pools are different from the 200 PIs Stephanie Greene identified as core collection.

      • Viands (Cornell) asked whether anybody used that core collection for breeding purposes. It is unknown.

    • Papadopoulos (AAFC) suggested having standard data collection methods to describe the same phenotypes and have common data.

    • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) sent an instruction sheet to Lethbridge.

    • Monteros (Noble Res Institute) suggested using pictures of 1 to 5 scores.

    • Checks like ‘Vernal” are usually included. There is also interest in persistence across regions.

    • Missaoui (Univ. Georgia Missaoui, H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin), C. Brummer (UC Davis), Brian Baldwin (Mississippi State Univ.) discussed the type of traits, especially the correlation between true yield and visual vigor and the validity of visual scores as surrogate to yield.

    • Ali Missaoui described the evaluation of an alfalfa collection of 1580 entries at UGA and the type of data collected. The data will be deposited back with NPGS.

    • Monteros (Noble Foundation) asked about sequencing, whether on single plants or more.

      • There is more variation within PIs than between. H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) indicated that 80% allele variation within a PI is considered uniform in forage populations. Allele frequency in alfalfa commercial seed field with the non-dormant cultivars are clearly distinct and less diverse.

    • Papadopoulos (AAFC), D. Viands (Cornell), H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin): discussed alfalfa selection in coastal regions. Selection of surviving plants after winter.

    • For those interested in PI evaluation in Northern locations, you can contact H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) for new germplasm evaluation.

      • We can add more sites for in the Northern area if there is interest. Clarifications were made on the type of data to collect from Canada.

    • Southern pool: Charlie will lead.

    • Mississippi is interested in adding a location and will coordinate with GA on the list of entries to test.

1.2. Developing switchgrass germplasm with improved fungal pathogen resistance

  1. Viands started the discussion:

  • Shawn Kenaley is leaving Cornell. Gary Bergstrom wants to take over leading the survey of switchgrass diseases. He plans on replacing Shawn with another postdoc.

  • Opened discussion on what needs to be done.

    • Missaoui will talk to Shavannor Smith if she is interested in joining the project.

    • The activities are just a survey and no need to plant.

    • Youssef is not involved in the objective but interested in getting information. He has breeding trials where data can be collected from and he is interested in being added to the objective.


1.3. Developing resilient cool-season grasses adapted to variable climatic conditions.

  • This topic was discussed a couple of years ago. The study is now in the ground looking at orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bromegrass vigor. Also looking at quality.

  • There is a selection component. There are several locations.

  • This is a new project and not a direct continuation.

  • Biligetu (Univ. Saskatchewan) commented that Bruce Coulman is semi-retired, but he is writing a paper on the project from previous project data.

1.4.  Determining the extent of genetic variability of condensed tannins among currently available birdsfoot trefoil cultivars and elite lines.

  1. Papadopoulos (AAFC) began the discussion.

  • The project was supposed to be initiated this year but Rebecca Brown (Rhode Island) could not start the project this year because of funding. She will start next year. The handout provided includes evaluation of germplasm for cooperators. The goal is to evaluate germplasm from other collaborators. An animal scientist will be looking for the effect on parasites.

  • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) asked if the evaluation started yet. He has material with high and low tannins from Nancy. He needs to send the seed to Y. Papadopoulos (AAFC).

  • The real step is to look at chemistry and tannins on animal parasites. Kathleen was added to the project and she will be looking at the chemistry: type of tannins and in vitro techniques. The samples will be freeze dried and sentr for processing and analysis of composition.

  • Papadopoulos (AAFC) and Rebecca have preliminary data, looking at leaf powder effect on worms in sheep. As well as in vitro, looking at effect on eggs and emergence of parasites.

  • Right now there is Nova Scotia, Utah, NY, and Wisconsin participating. If others are interested they can be added.

  • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) commented that in Wisconsin, there is someone using 3D-NMR looking at types of tannins in plants.

    • Kathleen is interested in knowing what fraction.

    • The person’s name is Wayne Zeller and can be added as collaborator if he interested.

    • Nancy would like to be added to the project but no site. She has high and low tannin genotypes.

    • Plots will have 10 plants and replicated. There is enough seed of the experimental population to be sent to participants.

    • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) is interested in tannin stability in hay.

    • Discussion on tannin fractions and chemistry with Kathleen. John is convinced his chemistry is the best.

    • Don asked what does it take to send the ground material to Canada for tannin analysis.

      • Annie replied: Phyto certificate. H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) suggested that it may not be needed because most of the germplasm that goes to Canada such as red clover has no restriction. Y. Papadopoulos (AAFC) will find out.

      • May combine samples from many replications.

    • Nancy Ehlke commented that tannin content is affected by environment but ranking is consistent ….No GXE.

      • Papadopoulos (AAFC): Year and location effect will be assessed. By 2020 will have an idea about GXE. He previously did greenhouse and field tests and found different rankings.

      • Papadopoulos (AAFC) will send details on harvest and sampling for analysis. Check cultivars will be determined.

Objective 2. Understanding genotype by environment interactions across multiple forage species.

  • Discussion on species (fescue, dactylis, bromus…), Quality and cell wall characteristics, and selection components.

  • Uniform cultivar trials with the same entries across locations to be able to test GXE.

  • Suggested to include Tim Phillips (Kentucky) as a participant.

  • How many cultivars to include? Discussion on whether to go with cutting or grazing or both. Suggested to stay with cutting.

Tall fescue:

  • Missaoui (UGA) will take the lead on coordinating the fescue trials. Participants will be Utah (Joe), Nova Scotia (Kathleen), Cornell (Don), GA (Ali), Davis (Charlie), and possibly Kentucky (Tim to ask).

  • The target is 30 entries.

  • Quality analysis can be done in GA, Mississippi volunteered for the analysis. Y. Papadopoulos (AAFC) suggested to target first growth for quality analysis.

Orchard grass:

  • Joe (Utah) will lead.

  • Saskatchewan, Cornell, UGA. Kentucky will participate with plantings starting this fall (first august).

  • The lead will collect the seed and distribute it to the sites.

  • Plot size 15 x 5 ft or 2 x 1 m. at least 2 checks for each region.

  • Papadopoulos (AAFC) can contribute germplasm but cannot do a trial. He can send one entry.

  • Each lead needs to send an email reminder to the collaborators to supply the seed for the trials.

Trefoil: Y. Papadopoulos (AAFC) is the lead on trefoil cultivar trial.

  • Same plots as tannin plus additional standard entries. Yield will be needed. First sample for tannin and then harvest the plots. 2019 will be the start.

Red clover: H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin) will lead:

  • Already have trials ongoing in Wisconsin, Cornell, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. In fall 2019, GA can have a trial. Nova Scotia has two cultivars that need to be tested. Standard checks (Marathon, Freedom, Cinnamon plus, Canadian checks)

  • There are not many commercial companies doing red clover breeding.

Alfalfa: Will discuss yield trials in next year’s meeting. In Utah, they do one trial every 3 years.

  • Cornell has a testing program on fee basis for companies but free for universities.

Cicer milkvetch and Sainfoin: Surya Acharya is doing work on these species. He was not present in the meeting

Anne Marie raised a question about GxE for objective 2.

  • Viands (Cornell) replied that for perennial species in order to be of interest to companies it has to be broadly adapted unlike annual species where you can have target regions. It has always been a justification when writing the multistate projects since forage breeders are getting fewer and fewer.

Discussion about the need or not for PVP. It is not as necessary as it used to be.

Next meeting location:

Next year’s meeting will be in Athens, GA, on Wednesday May 29, 2019. A. Missaoui (Univ. Georgia will be the chair for next year, Bill Biligetu – Univ. Saskatchewan (CAN) will be the secretary.

New Items:

  1. Brummer (UC Davis): Interested in population improvement for diploid alfalfa. (falcata, caerulia, etc.). There are some accessions that are very productive based on previous evaluations. Compared to tetraploids, these have smaller leaves and originated from East Turkey (Caspian Sea). Potential interest from Quebec, Davis, Cornell, H. Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin), Arvid Boe, Mike Peel. Seed will come from GRIN. Charlie will start a location this coming fall in Davis.

Meeting ended 11:45. Lunch in Student Center at USU campus.


<p>Objective 1:</p><br /> <ol><br /> <li>Alfalfa germplasm pools have been established at multiple locations. Some data have been collected, and plants will be selected from each location for vigor, agronomic traits, and persistence with the ultimate goal of developing new germplasm for alfalfa breeding programs.<br /> </li><br /> <li>Germplasm of orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bromegrass have been planted at multiple locations for germplasm enhancement.<br /> </li><br /> <li>Plans were discussed for initiating the tannin research on birdsfoot trefoil. The research will be planted at multiple locations during spring 2019.</li><br /> </ol><br /> <p>Objective 2:&nbsp; Plans have been discussed for planting various forage species at multiple locations during spring 2019 to study genotype x environment interactions.</p>


<p>Songsomboon K., J. Crawford, J. Cummings, G. Bergstrom, and D. Viands. 2017. Response to recurrent phenotypic selection and correlation of resistance to Bipolaris diseases in switchgrass. Poster session presented at: Switchgrass IV: Prairie &amp; Native Grass International Conference; 7-10 August 2017; Lincoln, NE.</p>

Impact Statements

  1. 3. The evaluation of experimental populations and cultivars is essential to ensure that all stakeholders have the agronomic information to make decisions on use of forage species and cultivars within species. These evaluations across locations and years helps scientists to better understand genotype x environmental interactions, which is essential for developing breeding strategies and for recommending cultivars for specific regions.
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Date of Annual Report: 06/19/2019

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 05/28/2019 - 05/28/2019
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2018 - 09/30/2019


Don Viands – Cornell Univ. (New York, U.S.A)
Heathcliffe Riday – USDA-Diary Forage Research Center (Wisconsin, U.S.A)
Nancy Ehlke – Univ. Minnesota (U.S.A)
Arvid Boe – South Dakota State Univ. (U.S.A.)
Ali Missaoui – Univ. Georgia (U.S.A.)
Maria Monteros – Noble Foundation (Oklahoma, USA)
Brian Baldwin – Mississippi State Univ. (Mississippi, USA)
Rebecca Brown - U. Rhode Island
Jesse Morrison - Miss.St.
Bill Biligetu – Univ. Saskatchewan (CAN)

Participated in meeting through video conference
Kathleen Glover – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)
Yousef Papadopoulos – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)

Brief Summary of Minutes

Opening and Introduction:

  • Call to order the meeting at 8:20 a.m.

  • Ali (Univ. of Georgia) opened the meeting by welcoming the group, and introduced the agenda for the meeting.

  • Ali introduced Sara Delheimer- Impact writer/Impact writing workshop presenter for multistate research projects.  

  • Sarah provided a 20-min presentation followed by actual practice for writing effective ‘Impact Statement’ for research reports. Brief summary of the presentation:

  • Communicating relies on members of the project group, and a good report is a first step to sharing your work with other researchers, general public, government/funding agencies.

  • Audience is most likely non-experts, and may not know the technical statement, and the impact statement is a brief of summary of work and why it matters.

  • There are many different forms: a good impact statement is brief (So what? Who cares? – Changes ahead- social, environment, behavior, knowledge).

  • The Issues- actions (small pieces), output/results (moral, take home message, but this is not impact)-- Impact story (how paper advances the sciences, workshop impact on farmers, then how they changed the social, economic, environmental problems, or behavior changes). In cases of public value statement <= impact statement, outcome<= impact statement. It is good practice to indicate public value in the impact statement.

  • Sarah mentioned that additional information for writing impact statements can be found at


  • Faith Peppers from the Univ. of Georgia provided a basket of “Taste of Georgia” to the meeting group, and she also provided resources for developing impact statements for Multistate projects.

Break at 11:15AM

11:30AM Discussion on NE1710 project  

  1. Developing broadly adapted, climate resilient forages for sustainable cropping systems.


1.1. Developing regionally adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools.

  • Riday (USDA-DFRC, Wisconsin): Four northern alfalfa pools were developed prior to the NE1710 project. For NE1710, the four populations were transplanted at Wisconsin, Cornell, Davis, Quebec (Canada), and Lethbridge (Canada). In fall 2018, plant selection was made at the Cornell site, and all other sites plan to make selections this year. Data will be collected at all sites. NIFA-AFRP provided additional funds, which enabled Cornell, Wisconsin, and Davis to establish three additional sites this year. A new NIFA grant proposal was submitted for the next round. The goal for this winter is to harvest seeds for seed increase. The plan is to release four germplasm pools.

  • Southern region: The Noble Research Institute is reviewing their programs, and alfalfa may be considered whether to continue for research.

  • Biligetu (U of Sask.) mentioned that he can establish an alfalfa variety trial if an additional northern site is needed.

  • Missaoui (Univ. of GA) asked about the number of cycles for the germplasm pool, and H. Riday mentioned they completed one cycle of selection.

  • Viands (Cornell) asked if he would combine the seeds from all sites to release four populations/germplasms. H. Riday suggested having a group discussion, and the idea was not to increase number of populations, thus maintaining the four pools. Heathcliff has data for all pools.

  • Viands (Cornell) suggested that a convergent-divergent selection may be useful for the second round of selection. So far has five sites with potential seed harvest. It may be good to have separate material by each location.

  • Riday mentioned a hairy a vetch project. In that project, they selected a few generations at each site before material exchange among sites. Seed production at one site may be a challenge for all sub-populations. The fund has a one-year extension until next year.

  • For southern pool- Missaoui (Univ. of GA) evaluated a large number of germplasms (380 PIs) in the last couple years. Data were collected, and selection was made from 27 PIs (3 plants/PI). The target fall dormancy was 6-10.

  • Missaoui (Univ. of GA) also is currently evaluating PIs under low soil pH, and plans to do a GWAS study.

  • Missaoui (Univ. of GA) has a few experimental alfalfa populations and is currently increasing seed at Idaho. He will do a variety trial next year, and other alfalfa germplasm with FD 6-10 can be entered into this trial.

  • Riday mentioned that Debby Samac (USDA-ARS) and others are doing a sequencing project (alfalfa, blueberry, sweet potato), which includes sequencing alfalfa (ARS project).


1.2. Developing switchgrass germplasm with improved fungal pathogen resistance

  • Viands: Gary Bergstrom’s post-doc, Shawn Kenaley led this objective, but he is no longer with Cornell. Gary is still the lead; he is interested in rust and smut race identification, and if there are samples with these diseases, they can be sent to him.

  • Don expressed concern that we are already in Year 2 of 5 years of the project, and we need to make more progress.

  • Boe (South Dakota State Univ.) mentioned switchgrass is currently tested at 13 different locations for a new study on GWAS of switchgrass, and he is phenotyping the materials.

  • Missaoui will talk to Shavannor Smith to determine if she is interested in joining the NE1710.

  • Baldwin (Mississippi, USA) also sent switchgrass disease (Smut) samples to S. Smith.

1.3. Developing resilient cool-season grasses adapted to variable climatic conditions.

  • Biligetu (U of Sask.) updated the project progress. This project included orchardgrass, tall fescue, meadow bromegrass, and timothy. The best two lines + check variety from each of three locations (Saskatoon, Quebec, Logan) were used for each species. Six sites were selected for this study based on their latitude including two sites each at Quebec, Canada; Saskatoon, Canada; and Logan, UT. All plots (pseudo-plot of 48 plants/plot) were transplanted and established in 2018. First year data will be collected in summer 2019.

1.4. Determining the extent of genetic variability of condensed tannins among currently available birdsfoot trefoil cultivars and elite lines.

  • Papadopoulos – (AAFC, Nova Scotia) updated the project. Y. Papadopoulos selected eight trefoil breeding lines for condensed tannins, and has sent seed to other locations. Y. Papadopoulos commented that it is currently too wet to seed at his site. Rebecca Brown (U. Rhode Island) will seed in August 2019, and Wisconsin is planning to seed in the fall 2019 as well. Cornell will seed the trial within next few weeks.

  • Riday has developed two entries of high and low tannin germplasm, and asked if he can add them to the list. Y. Papadopoulos suggested to use the same experimental design.

Objective 2. Understanding genotype by environment interactions across multiple forage species.

  • Tall Fescue: A. Missaoui commented that 14 tall fescue entries received (4 from Tim Philips, 3 checks, 7 from Ali’s program), and sent seeds to Cornell and Nova Scotia. Y. Papadopoulos will plant in spring 2019.

  • Orchardgrass: B. Baldwin commented that he has one orchardgrass population to test, and A. Missaoui mentioned he has seven entries with adequate seeds for three to four locations if others are interested in a trial.

  • Red Clover: H. Riday plans to collect red clover data to examine the relationship between nursery and sward density trials, if he can get the data for red clover from other sites. D. Viands mentioned Julie Hansen may have some data. D. Viands commented that the 2017 red clover trial with materials from U of Georgia, and Wisconsin, shows variance for persistence. Julie can select plants for them if there is an interest. Ali and Heathcliffe expressed interest. Ali mentioned that their extension staff has variety trials for various species, and if anyone wants to test their material, they can talk to them.


Viands suggested having a new administrative advisor for NE1710 project because he plans to retire at the end of 2020. The administrative advisor has to be a university faculty, and D. Viands will talk to potential candidate faculties. Note: After the meeting, Viands found out that the administrative advisor needs to be from the Northeast since this is an NE multistate project. He will ask his replacement at Cornell to become the administrative advisor, starting 2021.

Next meeting location: Lansing, Michigan (Joint meeting with the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference, June 1, 2020).

Chair: Bill Biligetu  

Secretary: Brian Baldwin


Meeting adjourned at 12:40 p.m.


Appendix 1


Northeast 1710 Annual Report, May 2019

Brian Baldwin and Jesse Morrison

Mississippi State University


            Efforts to improve warm- and cool-season native grasses for forage, habitat and reclamation have moved forward.  Selection for rapid germination of five warm-season native grasses (lowland and upland switchgrass, Panicum virgatum; big bluestem, Andropogon gerardii; indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans and little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium) have been successful; three other species are still undergoing selection (Eastern gammagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides; purpletop, Tridens flavus and beaked panicum, Panicum anceps).  Examiners have approved the lowland switchgrass variety ‘Expresso’ (syn ‘Espresso’), and issuance of the PVP (#201800200) is pending.  The upland short-statured switchgrass variety ‘Robusto’ has been submitted for PVP examination; the other three will follow in June.  Breeder’s seed of the five entries has been delivered to Roundstone Native Seed, LLC. (Upton, KY and Live Oak, FL).  Foundation fields have been established.  Spring, 2020 will initiate the generation of Registered seed increase.

            ‘Tusca’ is a cultivar of lowland switchgrass selected from ‘Alamo’ (USDA NRCS, Knox City, TX) for resistance to the herbicide imazapic.  Plant patent has been applied for and published ( ).  Additional screening to determine if selection for Tusca conferred cross-resistance to similar ALS-inhibiting herbicides was conducted. Five ALS-inhibiting herbicides including; imazapic (IPIC), imazamox (IMOX), imazapyr (IPYR), imazethapyr (ITHR), and metsulfuron methyl (MSUL), were tested on Alamo, Tusca, and wild-type johnsongrass [Sorghum halepense (L) Pers.] at five rates (25, 50, 75, 100, and 125% of the label rate) plus an untreated control, under laboratory and greenhouse conditions. Johnsongrass was used as a reference species to confirm efficacy of herbicide treatments. Six replications of 25 seeds of both cultivars and johnsongrass were screened for response to herbicide treatment at germination as well as the 3-leaf stage. Mean germination percentage for untreated Tusca, Alamo, and johnsongrass were 71.5, 24.8, and 40.8, respectively. Compared to controls, mean germination percentage of Tusca remained >50% at all rates of ITHR and IMOX, whereas ITHR decreased germination of Alamo to <25% and IMOX to <50%. While Tusca shows some improved tolerance to IPIC at germination, greater tolerance was found to ITHR, IPYR, and IMOX, whereas mean germination percentage of Alamo was significantly reduced by all treatments.

            Work with North American native grasses has almost exclusively focused on warm-season, C4 grasses.  There is still a great need for the inclusion of native cool-season grasses for reclamation of grasslands.  Originally lumped in with Canada and Virginia wildrye (Elymus canadensis and E. virginicus, respectively), southeastern wildrye (E. glabriflorus) was recognized as a separate species in 2007.  The occurrence of southeastern wildrye in the Deep South is favored over Canada wildrye, and in full sun locations, southeastern wildrye predominates over Virginia wildrye.  Being relatively new to agronomists, cultural parameters and establishment experiments were conducted to aid in research and breeding programs.   Optimal germination requirements were examined.  Data suggests optimal temperature for germination is between 15-20°C.  Photoperiod did not affect germination.  Germination is greatest at pH greater than 5.0, though germination does occur at lower pH.  Seed conditioning (removal of the beard) decreases germination, but also negatively impacts shelf life of the unplanted seed.   Maximum seedling emergence occurs at a planting depth of 0.64 cm.  While most references indicate that native grasses do not need high levels of fertility, southeastern wildrye is highly responsive to nitrogen application.   Like most native grass species, persistence declines with greater than two cuts per season.  

There are no herbicides currently labeled for use in southeastern wildrye.  Tolerance of southeastern wildrye to application of popular herbicide chemistries at the five-leaf stage have been explored.  Herbicides included imazethapyr, sulfometuron methyl, quinclorac, mesotrione, sulfentrazone, imazapic, nicosulfuron, thifensulfuron methyl, and sulfosulfuron.  Herbicides were applied at label rates with recommended adjuvants.  Plant height, seed and biomass yield, and plant population were negatively impacted by application of sulfometuron methyl (Oust XP) only. Anecdotal evidence indicates limited tolerance to the auxin-type herbicides.  Southeastern wildrye is primarily self-pollinated, though about 8-12% crossing does occur and extends to related species.   Selection and genetic improvement requires the accumulation of large numbers genotypes and the close quantification of specific characteristics.

            Exotic cool-season grass screening for heat tolerance in orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) has been conducted for three years (Eric Billman Ph.D. dissertation).  Recurrent phenotypic selection was used to select elite individuals of annual ryegrass and orchardgrass that expressed improved germination and growth at high temperature.  Selections were conducted within growth chambers at fixed temperature and light regime (40/30°C, 12/12 hrs light/darkness) to eliminate effects from environmental variance.  Following three cycles of selection, we observed gain in selection of the base population for both species.  Annual ryegrass mean cumulative germination at 40°C for cycle 3 peaked at 45.8% and orchardgrass mean cumulative germination at 40°C for cycle 3 as 82.7%.   Observations 20 days after the near record low temperatures in January 2017 indicate selection for heat-tolerance did not affect cold tolerance.  Persistence observations are currently underway for improved orchardgrass.


<ol><br /> <li><strong>Developing broadly adapted, climate resilient forages for sustainable cropping systems.</strong></li><br /> </ol><br /> <p><strong>1.1. Developing regionally adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools. </strong></p><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Alfalfa germplasm pools have been established at multiple locations. Some data have been collected, and plants will be selected from each location for vigor, agronomic traits, and persistence with the ultimate goal of developing new germplasm for alfalfa breeding programs.</li><br /> <li>Selection of 27 accessions that showed adaptation and good performance in Georgia was made following the evaluation of 340 NPGS accessions. Seed is being increased for further selection and performance evaluation.<br /> </li><br /> </ul><br /> <p><strong>1.3. Developing resilient cool-season grasses adapted to variable climatic conditions. </strong></p><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Brian Baldwin and Jesse Morrison at Mississippi State University submitted a report (Appendix 1) describing their efforts to improve warm- and cool-season native grasses for forage, habitat and reclamation in the Southeast.</li><br /> <li>Germplasm of orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bromegrass have been planted at multiple locations for germplasm enhancement.<br /> </li><br /> </ul><br /> <p><strong>1.4. Determining the extent of genetic variability of condensed tannins among currently available birdsfoot trefoil cultivars and elite lines.</strong></p><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Planting of selected breeding lines for condensed tannins was postponed to fall 2019 in AAFC, Nova Scotia, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Cornell is still planning to seed within next few weeks (Spring 2019).</li><br /> <li>Riday has developed two entries of high and low tannin germplasm that will be included in the trial using the same experimental design.</li><br /> </ul><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p><strong>Objective 2. Understanding genotype by environment interactions across multiple forage species.</strong></p><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Tall fescue variety trials were established at Cornell and Nova Scotia in spring 2019. Two more sites will be planted in the fall 2019 in Georgia and Kentucky.</li><br /> </ul><br /> <p>&nbsp;Each trial involved 14 tall fescue entries received from Tim Philips (4), 3 checks, and 7 from Ali&rsquo;s program at UGA.</p>


<p>Carlson, J., T. Bell, S. Bonos, M. Hall, J. Hansen, J. Lasky, and D. Viands. 2019. Breeding resilient, disease-resistant switchgrass cultivars for marginal lands. USDA-DOE Bioenergy Feedstocks PI meeting. 25-26 February 2019, Washington, DC.</p><br /> <p>Hansen, J.L, D.R. Viands, J. Chavez, J. Crawford, J. Schiller, and R. Crawford. 2018. New York forage legume and grass variety yield trials summary for 2018 - season totals</p><br /> <p><a href=""></a></p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>Songsomboon, C., R. Crawford, J. Crawford, J. Hansen, J. Cummings, N. Mattson, G. Bergstrom, and D. Viands. 2019. Recurrent phenotypic selection for resistance to diseases caused by Bipolaris oryzae in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Biomass and Bioenergy. In press.</p>

Impact Statements

  1. GXE interaction in perennial forage species The sales volumes and profit margins on forage seed sales are slim. Therefore perennial forage cultivars need to be broadly adapted in order to gain acceptance by the seed industry. The multistate group of researchers are collaborating to identify the extent of the variations in performance of these species in different environments across the US and Canada. We have several varieties developed in different parts of North America that are being evaluated in multiple locations for several years to test their forage yield and quality across environments. The results will guide future breeding programs on which representative environments they should test experimental populations before they are released as commercial varieties.
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Date of Annual Report: 06/24/2020

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 06/01/2020 - 06/01/2020
Period the Report Covers: 10/01/2019 - 09/30/2020


Don Viands – Cornell Univ. (New York, U.S.A)
Heathcliffe Riday – USDA-Diary Forage Research Center (Wisconsin, U.S.A)
Nancy Ehlke – Univ. Minnesota (U.S.A)
Charlie Brummer – Univ. California Davis (U.S.A)
Arvid Boe – South Dakota State Univ. (U.S.A.)
Ali Missaoui – Univ. Georgia (U.S.A.)
Annie Claessens – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Quebec City, CAN)
Maria Monteros – Noble Foundation (Oklahoma, USA)
Brian Baldwin – Mississippi State Univ. (Mississippi, USA)
Michael Peel – USDA-ARS– Logan, UT (U.S.A)
Kathleen Glover – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)
Yousef Papadopoulos – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Nova Scotia, CAN)
Sean Asselin – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Swift Current, CAN)
Surya Acharya – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lethbridge, CAN)
Hari Poudel – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lethbridge, CAN)
Joseph Robins – USDA-ARS Logan, UT (U.S.A)
Tim Phillips – Univ. Kentucky (Lexington, U.S.A)
Gary Bergstrom – Cornell Univ. (New York, U.S.A)
Shavannor Smith – Univ. Georgia (U.S.A.)
Brian Irish – USDA-ARS Pullman, WA. (U.S.A)
Chathu Wijewardana – Cornell Univ. (New York, U.S.A)
Zhang you Xu – USDA-ARS, Minnesota
Abdelali Hannoufa – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (London, CAN)
Eric Von Wettberg –Univ. Vermont, (U.S.A)
Esteban Rios– Univ. of Florida
Garett Heineck– Univ. of Minnesota
Bill Biligetu – Univ. Saskatchewan (CAN)

Brief Summary of Minutes

 1.1  Alfalfa testing – Heathcliff (northern group) and Charlie (southern group).


Northern Germplasm

  • Locations Cornell, Madison, Davis, Nova Scotia, Quebec.

  • Selection of crossing blocks and generations of diverse populations in a northern group and a southern group.

  • Interest in 10-clone synthetics.

  • Derived synthetics to be evaluated at these sites, next year.

  • Interested – St. Paul, Vermont, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Davis, Cornell, Saskatoon and Swift Current (SK). Based on seed amounts, will select follow up sites.

  • To get seed into Canada, better to send all seed to one Canadian location and they distribute? Yousef (NS) volunteered to be the site.

Southern Germplasm

  • Explanation of the project. Four germplasm pools for the North and five for the south.

  • Purpose is to get a genetic mix among the germplasms within the pools.

  • El Centro nursery “hammered good.”

  • San Joaquin Valley site did well.

  • Spring planting put off because of Covid19. Hopefully there will be fall plantings.

  • Germplasm space plantings for southern locations: Ali Missaoui has a test of alfalfa in Georgia that he has screened.

  • Question if there is a Latin American pool. Brummer would like to include it to get more non-dormant material.

  • Zhanyou Xu: will using markers eliminate duplication in the collection? Heathcliff – simpler methods to evaluate diversity.  More interested in the loss of diversity. 

  • Discussion on caged seed increases.

1.2 Fungal investigations in switchgrass

  • Invited Shavannor Smith assisting at Georgia. Developing markers for rust (Puccinia maculata and Bipolaris) on maize.  Perhaps this knowledge is transferrable to switchgrass.

  • Headsmut is important because it impacts seed production.

  • Bergstrom – really no observed resistance in the southern lowland types that contract head smut.

  • Annie Claessens is working on head bunt. She invited other participants.

1.3 Developing resilient cool-season grasses adapted to variable climatic conditions.

  • Locations testing – Utah – 2 locations; western Canada – 2 locations, Quebec -2 locations.

  • Grasses include 7 tall fescue 10 meadow brome, 10 timothy, 10 orchardgrass breeding lines.

  • Sites are in their 2nd year of data collection – all northern latitudes.

  • Looking at sugar accumulation in orchardgrass.

  • Georgia needs a set to study GXE for orchardgrass.

  • Selections for heat tolerance in orchardgrass in Mississippi.

1.4 Genetic variability in BFT

  • Locations Madison, Nova Scotia, Cornell, Logan.

  • Coordinated by Yousef.

  • Mike Peel harvested samples; freeze-drying to be sent from Logan. Madison site getting underway slowly. Cornell will take samples this year. We are on target. Delays due to Covid19.

2.0 G X E for Tall fescue, orchardgrass, red clover

  • Georgia: 17 tall fescue lines are being tested in Georgia, Cornell, and Nova Scotia.

  • Orchardgrass: Mississippi generated heat-tolerant orchardgrass in hopes of increasing persistence.

  • Red clover – still a discussion point.



Discussions for the next 5-year multistate project period (led by Don Viands)

  • An “Intent to Write” needs to be submitted within the next year.

  • Continue current objectives.

  • 2: Switchgrass resistance to head smut and genetic diversity of the pathogen.

  • 4: Add sainfoin (Surya Acharya lead; Michael Peel, Kathleen Glover, Bill Biligetu)

  • New objective: Improve forage yield stability by selection for tolerance to environmental stresses and climate change.

  • New objective: Selection of forage species for nutritive value.

  • New 3.1 objective to be led by Heathcliffe Riday: Implementing genomic selection in alfalfa breeding programs.

  • Kathleen: we should consider what is needed for the next 10 years. Zu: improve yield. Eric: More grass-based forage production in VT. Kathleen: Environmental sustainability.

  • Don will draft the Intent to Write and send it to the NE1710 members for review.

Next meeting location and date: Mississippi? Bill will ask Brian Baldwin if he will host the meeting. If so, Brian can send us a few possible dates.

  • Elect the next officers of NE1710: B. Baldwin = Chair, sec. = Sean Asselin (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Swift Current station).

  • Administrative Advisor: After the meeting, Eric von Wettberg volunteered to become the next administrative advisor.

Adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.


<p><strong>Objective 1. Developing broadly adapted, climate resilient forages for sustainable cropping systems.</strong></p><br /> <p><strong>1.1. Developing regionally adapted, resilient alfalfa germplasm pools. </strong></p><br /> <p>Alfalfa germplasm pools have been established at multiple locations. Some data have been collected, and plants were selected for the first cycle of selection from each location for vigor, agronomic traits, and persistence. A second cycle of selection will be initiated, and evaluation of the first cycle germplasm will be evaluated at multiple locations. The ultimate goal is to develop new germplasm for alfalfa breeding programs.&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p><strong>1.2 Fungal investigations in switchgrass</strong></p><br /> <p>Switchgrass diseases are being assessed and pathogens identified at multiple locations across North America.</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p><strong>1.3. Developing resilient cool-season grasses adapted to variable climatic conditions. </strong></p><br /> <p>Germplasm of orchardgrass, tall fescue, and bromegrass have been evaluated at multiple locations for germplasm enhancement. A heat-resistant orchardgrass variety has been released.</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p><strong>1.4. Determining the extent of genetic variability of condensed tannins among currently available birdsfoot trefoil cultivars and elite lines.</strong></p><br /> <p>Some locations are sampling forage of the birdsfoot trefoil trial during summer 2020. Other locations have delayed planting the trials until next year because of restrictions due to COVID-19.</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p><strong>Objective 2. Understanding genotype by environment interactions across multiple forage species.</strong></p><br /> <p>Field plot trials of several tall fescue populations were planted in 2019 at multiple locations. Forage yield is being assessed for the first production year during 2020. These trials will continue for at least the next two years.</p>


<p>Annick Bertrand, Solen Rocher, Annie Claessens, Marie Bipfubusa, Yousef Papadopoulos, Yves Castonguay. 2020. Biochemical and molecular responses during overwintering of red clover populations recurrently selected for improved freezing tolerance. Plant Science 292 (2020) 110388.</p><br /> <p>Brummer, E.C., X. Li, Y. Wei, J. Hansen, and D.R. Viands. 2019. The imperative of improving yield of perennial forage crops: will genomic selection help? EGF Eucarpia.Joint Symposium, Zurich 24-27 June. <a href=""></a></p><br /> <p>Crawford, R., J. Crawford, J. Hansen, D. Viands, and B. Richards. 2019. Effect of soil moisture on yield and quality of fertilized and unfertilized switchgrass plots in a field with a soil moisture gradient. Poster presented at: Switchgrass V International Conf., Champaign, Illinois, 22-25 July 2019.</p><br /> <p>Hansen, J.L, D.R. Viands, J. Chavez, J. Crawford, J. Schiller, and R. Crawford. 2019. New York forage legume and grass variety yield trials summary for 2019 - season totals. <a href=""></a></p><br /> <p>Houman Fei, Matthew Crouse, Yousef A. Papadopoulos, and J. Kevin Vessey. 2020. Improving biomass yield of giant Miscanthus by application of beneficial soil microbes and a plant biostimulantCan. J. Plant Sci. 100: 29&ndash;39. The post doctorate conducted this trial at the Nappan Research Farm which was supported by BioFuelNet.</p><br /> <p>Marques E, Kur A, Bueno E., and von Wettberg EJ<strong>.&nbsp; </strong>2020. Defining &lsquo;rotational value&rsquo; of crops.&nbsp; <em>Crop Science, </em>DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20200</p><br /> <p>Mayton. H., M. Amirkhani, M. Loos, J. Crawford, R. Crawford, J. Hansen, D. Viands, P. Salon, and A. Taylor. 2019. Evaluation of switchgrass genotypes for cold-tolerant seed germination from native populations in the Northeast USA. Plants 8(10):394. (13 pages)</p><br /> <p>QTL mapping of flowering time and biomass yield in tetraploid alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Laxman Adhikari, Shiva Om Makaju &amp; Ali M. Missaoui. BMC Plant Biology volume 19, Article number: 359 (2019)</p><br /> <p>Quantitative Trait Loci Mapping of Rust Resistance in Tetraploid Alfalfa. 2019. Laxman Adhikari and Ali M. Missaoui. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. Volume 106, April 2019, Pages 238-245</p><br /> <p>Richards, B., R. Crawford, S. Das, C. Mason, C. Stoof, S. Pacenka, J. Hansen, J. Crawford, T. Steenhuis, and D. Viands. 2019. Perennial grass feedstock production on wetness-prone marginal soils in New York. Switchgrass V International Conf., Champaign, Illinois, 22-25 July 2019. 10.13140/RG.2.2.21798.27208.</p><br /> <p>Richards, B.K., C. Mason, S. Das, C. R. Stoof, Crawford, R.V. [Presenter], J. Hansen, J. Crawford, T. S. Steenhuis, M. T. Walter, D. R. Viands. Research poster: Perennial Grass Bioenergy Feedstocks on Wetness-Prone Marginal Soils. Switchgrass Collaboration Meeting, Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, OK. Feb. 10-13, 2019.</p><br /> <p>Sharifi, Mehdi, Derek Lynch, David Burton, Yousef Papadopoulos, Michael Main. 2019. Quantifying the short-term contribution of switchgrass to soil carbon using natural abundance technique in a sandy loam soil in Eastern Canada. Can. J. Soil Sci. 99: 217&ndash;221.</p><br /> <p>Similien, RM, Boe A, Coulman B. 2020. Forage production and selection for vigor in meadow and hybrid bromegrass in the northern Great Plains. American Journal of Plant Sciences 11:91-110.</p><br /> <p>Songsomboon, C., R. Crawford, J. Crawford, J. Hansen, J. Cummings, N. Mattson, G. Bergstrom, and D. Viands. 2019. Recurrent phenotypic selection for resistance to diseases caused by Bipolaris oryzae in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Biomass and Bioenergy 125:105-113.</p><br /> <p>Sutherland, J., R. Crawford, R. Trexler, C. Tkach, T. Bell, S. Bonos, M. Hall, J. Hansen, J. Lasky, D. Viands, and J. Carlson. 2020. Breeding for resilient, disease-resistant switchgrass cultivars for marginal lands. Genome Sci. Program PIs Ann. Meeting. Washington, D.C. 24-26 February 2020.<br /><br /></p><br /> <p><strong>Conference or Workshop Presentations</strong></p><br /> <p>Biruk A. Feyissa, Yousef Papadopoulos, Susanne E. Kohalmi, Abdelali Hannoufa. 2019. Flooding tolerance is regulated through the MiR156/SPL13 module in Medicago sativa. Plant Canada 2019 Conference, Guelph, Ontario, July 7 &ndash; 10.</p><br /> <ol start="2019"><br /> <li>Kevin Vessey and Yousef Papadopoulos. 2019. Purpose Grown Biomass Crops: Efficient Production, Yield Modelling and Real-world Verification. Biomass to Fuel the Bioeconomy Workshop. Ottawa, Ontario, September 23, 2019.</li><br /> <li>Kevin Vessey and Yousef Papadopoulos. 2019. Purpose Grown Biomass Crops: Efficient Production, Yield Modelling and Real-world Verification. Atlantic BIOCON 2019, Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 19, 2019.</li><br /> <li>Kevin Vessey and Yousef Papadopoulos. 2020. Purpose Grown Biomass Crops:Efficient Production, Yield Modelling and Real-world Verification. Nova Scotia Innovation Hub Meeting, Halifax, Nova Scotia, January 17, 2020.</li><br /> </ol><br /> <p>Papadopoulos, Y.A., S. Bittman, D. Hunt, J. Larsen, E. Mupondwa, R. Soolanayakanahally, A. Claessens, Bill Thomas, K. Vessey S. Fillmore. 2020. Adapted and Productive Cultivars for Dedicated Bioenergy Perennial Crops. AAFC Webex meeting - Theme 1: Biomass Feedstocks: Development and Production towards the Biorefinery Value Chain. January 24, 2020.</p><br /> <p>Yousef A. Papadopoulos. 2019. Forage Crops Adaptation to Global Warming. 10<sup>th</sup> Annual Canadian Forage &amp; Grassland Association Conference. in Moncton N.B., Nov. 12 to 15, 2019.</p>

Impact Statements

  1. Anthelminthic BFT Trial: Digestive tract parasites are a major limiting factor in yields of meat, milk and fiber from sheep and goats. Parasites on many farms are resistant to conventional dewormers. Birdsfoot trefoil has demonstrated potential as a medicinal forage in laboratory tests, with varieties differing in effectiveness. Trefoil is a high quality feed for sheep and goats even in the absence of parasites, and it improves soil quality. We are evaluating eight varieties over three years to find the best combination of effectiveness and forage yield. Identification of a superior variety will allow sheep and goat producers to improve herd health and yields while reducing dependence on conventional dewormers and improving soil quality.
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Date of Annual Report: 10/03/2021

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 08/10/2021 - 08/11/2021
Period the Report Covers: 06/02/2020 - 08/13/2021


Eric Bishop von Wettberg, University of Vermont (Co-host); Brian Baldwin, University of Mississippi (co-host); Arvin Boe, South Dakota State University; Ginny Moore, Cornell; Ali Missaoui, University of Georgia; Gary Bergstrom, Cornell; Charlie Brummer, UC Davis; Nancy Jo Ehlke, University of Minnesota; Yousef Papadopoulos, AgriFood Canada (NS); Mike Peel, USDA ARS; Healthcliffe Riday, USDA ARS; Kathleen Glover, AgriFood Canada (NS); Brian Irish, USDA ARS; Esteban Rios, University of Florida; Rebecca Brown, University of Rhode Island; Bill Biligetu, University of Saskatchewan; Joe Robbins, USDA ARS; Stacy Bonos, Rutgers; Annie Claessens, AgriFood Canada; Emmanuel Brefo, University of Vermont (Notes); Emma Parks, University of Vermont (Notes). Noticeably absent were the members formerly employed at Noble Foundation.

Brief Summary of Minutes

The attached minutes and reports cover the two primary activities of our annual meeting.  We spent our first day discussing the status of the various objectives.  The second day was spent discussing writing a renewal proposal.


<p>As reported in the minutes, we have made progress on breeding and trialing several forage species.&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>In alfalfa, the development of germplasm pools has moved forward, with progress on both northern and southern adapted germplasm.</p><br /> <p>In Switchgrass, fungal diseases remain a challenge, but multi-site trials across a latitudinal gradient are an exciting development.</p><br /> <p>Trials of cool-season grasses are making good progress, with improvement of heat tolerance in more southern locations.</p><br /> <p>In Birdsfoot trefoil, improvements are being made in measuring tannin content, examining the importance of pollinators, and studying shattering.</p><br /> <p>Assessements of genotype by environment interactions for orchardgrass and tall fescue are moving forwad.</p>


<p>We are still collating publications from participants.&nbsp; But this is what we currently have.</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>Tkach, C., J. Sutherland, S. Bonos, J. E. Carlson, T. H. Bell, J. R. Lasky, J. L. Hansen, R. V. Crawford, D. Viands. 2020. Analysis of anthracnose disease in an association panel of switchgrass on marginal land. In agronomy abstracts ASA, CSSA, SSSA Annual Meeting Nov 7, 2020 (Talk at Virtual Meeting).</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>Sutherland, J., Ryan Crawford, Ryan Trexler, Christopher Tkach, Terrence Bell, Stacy Bonos, Marvin Hall, Julie Hansen, Jesse Lasky, Donald Viands, John Carlson. 2020. The Future of Bioenergy and Biorenewables Workshop, The Nittany Lion Inn, State College, Pennsylvania, November 10, 2020 (poster presentation).</p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>Hansen, J.L, D.R. Viands, J. Chavez, J. Crawford, J. Schiller, and R. Crawford. 2020. New York forage legume and grass variety yield trials summary for 2020 - season totals&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=""></a></p><br /> <p>&nbsp;</p><br /> <p>Marques E, Kur A, Bueno E, and <strong>von Wettberg EJ.&nbsp; </strong>2020. Defining &lsquo;rotational value&rsquo; of crops.&nbsp; <em>Crop Science, </em>DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20200</p><br /> <p>Bauchet G , Bett K, Cameron C, Campbell JD, Cannon EKS, Cannon SB, Carlson JW, Chan A, Cleary A, Close TJ, Cook DR, Cooksey AM, Coyne C, Dash S, Dickstein R, Farmer AD, Fern&aacute;andez-Baca D, Hokin S, Jones ES, Kang Y, Monteros MJ, Mu&ntilde;oz-Amatriain M, Mysore K, Pislariu CI, Richards C, Shi A, Town C, Udvardi M, <strong>von Wettberg EJ,</strong> Young ND, Zhao P.&nbsp; 2020. The future of legume genetic data resources: challenges, opportunities, and priorities.&nbsp; <em>Legume Science</em>, <a href=""></a></p><br /> <p><strong>von Wettberg EJ</strong>, Davis T. and Smykal P<strong>.&nbsp; </strong>2020. Wild Plants as a source of new crops. <em>Frontiers in Plant Science</em>. 11: 591554<em>.</em></p><br /> <p><strong>von Wettberg EJ, </strong>Porter SS, Moriuchi KS, Mukherjee JR. 2020 Medicago as a model forage and ecological model.&nbsp; Chapter 2 In <em>The Model Legume Medicago truncatula</em>, (ed. de Bruijn, FJ). Wiley Publishers, NJ USA.<em>&nbsp; </em></p><br /> <p>Krieg CP, Valls R, Vatland S, Gordnier J, Porter SS, Friesen ML, <strong>von Wettberg EJ. </strong>2019.&nbsp; Nitrogen Fixation: Fixing the Gap Between Concept and Evidence Based Learning with Legume Biology.&nbsp; <em>American Biology Teacher, </em>81: 250-255.</p>

Impact Statements

  1. At UVM, Hatch support assisted in obtaining two grants: NE SARE (USDA) Novel Approaches: Improving the rotational value of pea cover crops. PI: von Wettberg $199,992. And: NSF Biology Integration Institute, The New Roots for Restoration Institute. Role Co-PI, with PI Allison Miller, The Donald Danforth Center. $12M/$390,232
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Date of Annual Report: 06/26/2022

Report Information

Annual Meeting Dates: 06/07/2022 - 06/07/2022
Period the Report Covers: 06/02/2021 - 06/07/2022


Eric von Wettberg, Brian Baldwin, Tim Phillips, Charles Brummer, Virginia Moore, Rebecca Brown, Heathcliff Riday, Zhanyou Xu, Lan Xu, Kathleen Glover, Mike Peel, Nancy Jo Elke, Brian Irish, Brandon Schlautman, Annie Classens, Arvid Boe, Yousef Papadopoulis, Bill Biligetu,

Brief Summary of Minutes

We met in conjunction with the North American alfalfa improvement conference.  We received reports on the range of our activities, and received an update on the renewal proposal to NE1710, the now accepted NE2210.  We have made good progress in developing regionally adapted pools of alfalfa germplasm.  COVID-related delays to our trefoil activities have eased, allowing the processing of digestible fiber that had been slowed.  Cool season grass development continues.  Development of switchgrass germplasm has led to two germplasm releases in process in Mississippi.  All projects are moving forward.


<ul><br /> <li><strong>Short-term Outcomes:</strong>&nbsp;We are in the process of developing improved germplasm of several forage and bioenergy crops, including alfalfa, birds foot trefoil, switchgrass, red clover, miscanthus, and cool season forage grasses.</li><br /> <li><strong>Outputs:</strong>&nbsp;Several varieties are moving towards release.&nbsp; Four varieties of miscanthus are in the pipeline in Mississippi.&nbsp; UF has released a new alfalfa variety.&nbsp; Several Davis and Cornell varieties are moving formward</li><br /> <li><strong>Activities:</strong>&nbsp;We had great attendance at our hybrid meeting, given the state of the pandemic.&nbsp; Our 2023 meeting will occur in Vermont.</li><br /> <li><strong>Milestones:</strong>&nbsp;With NE2210 approved, our next steps will be continuing ongoing germplasm evaluation and development, and starting new directions focused on cover crops.</li><br /> </ul>


<p>Renzi JP, Brus J, Coyne C, Berger J, <strong>von Wettberg EJ</strong>, Nelson M, Ureta S, Hern&aacute;ndez F, Sm&yacute;kal P. 2022. How could the use of crop wild relatives in breeding increase the adaptation of crops to marginal environments?&nbsp; <em>Frontiers in Plant Science.&nbsp; </em></p><br /> <p>Neher D, Harris JA, Horner K., Scarsborough M, Baddireddy A, Faulkner J, White A, Darby H, Farley J, <strong>von Wettberg EJ.</strong> 2022 Resilient Soils for Resilient Farms: An Integrative Approach to Assess, Promote and Value Soil Health for Small- and Medium-Size Farms. <em>Phytobiomes. </em><a href=""><em></em></a></p><br /> <p>Jha U, Nayyar H, Parida SK, Bakir M, <strong>von Wettberg EJ,</strong> Siddique KHM. 2022. Progress of genomics-driven approaches for sustaining underutilized legume crops in the post-genomic era. <em>Frontiers in Genetics.</em></p><br /> <p>Ageev A, Lee CR, Ting CT, Schafleitner R,&nbsp;<strong>von Wettberg EJ</strong>, Nuzhdin S, Samsonova MG, Kozlov K. 2022. Modeling of flowering time in Vigna radiata with Approximate Bayesian Computation. <em>MDPI Agronomy. 11(11), 2317;&nbsp;</em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>.</em></p><br /> <p>Ageev A, Aydogan A, <strong>von Wettberg EJ</strong>, Nuzhdin SV, Samsonova M. Kozlov K. 2021. Simulation model for time to flowering with climatic and genetic inputs for wild chickpea. MDPI Agronomy. 11(7):1389. 10.3390/agronomy11071389</p><br /> <p>Guerra-Garcia A, Gioia T, <strong>von Wettberg EJ, </strong>Logozzo G, Papa R, Bitocchi E, and Bett K. 2021. INCREASE intelligent collection of lentil genetic resources: evolutionary history, recent genomic characterization of germplasm, and the need for well characterized collections. <em>Current Protocols, e134. </em><a href=""></a></p><br /> <p>Marques E, Kur A, Bueno E., and <strong>von Wettberg EJ.&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong>2020. Defining &lsquo;rotational value&rsquo; of crops.&nbsp; <em>Crop Science, </em>DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20200</p><br /> <p>Coyne C, Kumar S. <strong>von Wettberg EJ,</strong> Marques E, Berger J, Redden R, Ellis N, Brus J, Zablatzk&aacute; L, Sm&yacute;kal P. 2020. Potential and limits of exploitation of crop wild relatives for pea, lentil and chickpea improvement. <em>Legume Science</em>.</p>

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