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Acta Agron Sin ›› 2009, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (10): 1923-1929.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2009.01923


Relationship Between Dry Matter Per Plant in First Cutting and the Yield-Related Traits in Twelve Alfalfa Varieties Introduced Overseas

LONG Ming-Xiu1,GAO Jing-Hui1,2,**,GAO Yang1,HU Tian-Ming1,*,SHI Jun-Tong3,WU Zhen1,YANG Hong-Xin1   

  1. 1 College of Animal Science and Technology; 2 College of Life Sciences; 3 College of Agronomy, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China
  • Received:2008-12-31 Revised:2009-04-28 Online:2009-10-12 Published:2009-07-04
  • Contact: HU Tian-Peng, E-mail: hutianming@126.com


Yield of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is closely related to its plant characteristics and the yield in 1st cutting contributes the majority to the annual harvest with the dry matter per plant (DMPP) determining the total community yield. The relationship between dry matter per plant in 1st cutting and yield-related traits (plant height, branch characteristics and leaf to stem ratio) of 12 introduced alfalfa varieties were studied in three continuous years (the 35 growth years) under field condition. There was a significant positive correlation between dry matter per plant and sub-branch number (SBN) (r = 0.689), and between DMPP and internode number of sub-branch (SBIN) (r = 0.526). The 1stprincipal component was composed of the branch number (BN), SBN, branch internode number (BIN) and SBIN, which accounted for 58.05 percent of total variance. This suggests that SBN and SBIN may be considered as the main objective characteristics for alfalfa breeding selection. The plant height (PH) had no significant correlation with DMPP, but a significant negative correlation with BN and BIN (r = 0.650 and 0.637, respectively), indicating that the control of the plant height of alfalfa by filed management appropriately is beneficial to the yield. The cluster analysis for DMPP showed that the 3-year average SBN in 1st cutting for group 1 varieties (the group with the highest DMPP including Pondus and WL-414) was significantly higher than other two groups. The SBIN had no significant difference between group 1 and group 2, but showed significant difference between group 1 and group 3 (P<0.05). The leaf to stem ratio (LSR) of group 1 was 6.05% higher than that of group 2 and 10.91% higher than that of group 3, and the difference was significant between group 1 and group 3 (P<0.05). Among the varieties, Pondus and WL-414 had higher breeding value in yield and palatability than other varieties.

Key words: Alfalfa, Dry matter per plant, Yield-related characteristics, 1st cutting

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