Characterization of core collection of lentil germplasm for phenology, morphology, seed and straw yields


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Abstract

Increasing and maintaining crop residues in predominantly cereal-based rotations of the US Pacific Northwest is critical to controlling soil erosion. The core collection of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) germplasm comprising 287 accessions was evaluated for variation in phenological, morphological and growth parameters including seed yields and residue amounts over a two-year period under conventional tillage and no-till conditions. The objectives of this study were (i) assess lentil genetic variation in germplasm for variation in biomass production and seed yield, (ii) assess the relationship of phenological and morphological traits with biomass and seed yield and (iii) identify high biomass producing germplasm for use as parents in the breeding program. Days to flowering and days to maturity ranged from 31 to 78 and from 71 to 106 days, respectively. Time to flowering in terms of cumulative heat units was a more efficient measurement than days to flowering. Plant height and plant canopy width had a significant association with total biomass, seed yield and residue amounts. Total biomass ranged from 788–6389 kg ha−1 under conventional tillage, while the range under no-till conditions was 1045–6195 kg ha−1. Most of the lines with higher biomass also produced the highest seed yields and residue amounts. Overall, only one accession produced more residue than ‘Laird’. In the more favorable environment of 1997, six accessions exceeded the control cultivars, ‘Laird’ and ‘Indianhead’, for residue amounts, and seven and twenty-four accessions exceeded control cultivars, ‘Pardina’ and ‘Brewer’, for seed yield. Results indicated that plant height, canopy width at maturity and seed yield explained most of the variation in biomass and residue production. Large seeded germplasm consistently had a longer reproductive growth period than small seeded accessions and had 17%, 7% and 21% more biomass, seed yield and residue, respectively. Our data indicated significant variation in lentil germplasm for biomass, seed yield and residue amounts to warrant their use in the breeding program.

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