Grazing resistance mechanisms in alfalfas of different aptitude in the juvenile stage

This study aimed at verifying whether juvenile plants of alfalfa cultivars with different aptitude (grazingtype: Alfagraze and ABT 805; hay-type: Crioula) show morphophysiological differences in order to develop a protocol for early selection for grazing persistence. Two experiments were conducted in a greenhouse, in completely randomized design and three repeplicates. In Experiment 1, plants were evaluated from successive destructive harvests at 60, 90, 120 and 150 days of age. In Experiment 2, plants at 150 days of age were cut to a 10-cm stubble and harvested at 15 and 30 days of regrowth. In Experiment 1, Alfagraze showed the lowest height (19 cm), internode length (1.4 cm) and apical bud accessibility (15.3 cm). Grazing-type cultivars did not differ significantly for subterranean hypocotyl diameter (3.5 mm) on the mean ages, and at 120 days of age they had lower number of leaves (56/plant) and axillary stem (2.5/plant) number as well as aerial dry matter accumulation (DM = 0.99 g/plant) in comparison to Crioula. At 150 days of age, Alfagraze had the lowest aerial dry matter accumulation (0.86 g/plant) compared to the other cultivars (1.8 g/plant). In Experiment 2, Alfagraze had higher leaf number (172/plant) compared to the mean of ABT 805 and Crioula (114/plant). The characters with the highest relative contribution for genetic divergence were number of leaves at 120 days of age (Experiment 1) and at 15 and 30 days of regrowth (Experiment 2) totalizing 71.5%. The highest average Euclidean distance (d = 12.3) was from Alfagraze to Crioula and the smallest from ABT 805 to Crioula (d = 8.92). At the juvenile stage, it is possible to identify some grazing avoidance mechanisms in alfafa, such as the small plant height, lower apical bud accessibility and short internodes, as well as one of the grazing tolerance mechanisms, which is the increase in the number of leaves after cutting. For these characters, early selection is possible and Alfagraze can be used as witness.

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Bibliographic Details
Main Authors: Scheffer-Basso,Simone Meredith, Muniz,Andreissi Mileski
Format: Digital revista
Published: Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia 2010
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