Lignocellulosic bioenergy crops such as shrub willow (Salix spp.) are expected to have a significant role in climate mitigation strategies. Yield is perhaps the most important trait for genetic selection and development of biomass feedstocks, but the selection process is complicated by the strong influence that environmental factors has on cultivar performance. Understanding the genotype-by-environment interactions using regional yield trials of shrub willow will inform future breeding efforts and improve the ability to make regionally-specific cultivar recommendations. We analyzed two yield trial datasets containing genotypes from successive rounds of breeding using a series of mixed models. Stability variance parameters were used together with overall yields to identify genotypes with stable yields or specific adaptation. Analysis of the first dataset revealed a group of triploid interspecific hybrid cultivars with exceptional performance and specific adaptation to either poor or good quality environments. The best performing cultivar showed a 14% yield improvement over the mean of the check cultivars. In the second dataset, new selections were assessed along with the top performing cultivars from dataset 1. New triploid hybrids had yields 19 to 27% greater than the check cultivar and exhibited similar patterns of specific adaptation as some of the selections from the first dataset. Partial least squares regression analysis indicated that top-yielding genotypes were favored in environments with higher temperatures and greater growing degree days. This analysis demonstrates incremental improvements in yield with successive rounds of breeding through the development of interspecific triploid hybrids.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science