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Characterization of forage grass genetic resources

Contributors to this page: ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Jean Hanson); Bioversity International/ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Alexandra Jorge).

Contents:
Cultural practices
Descriptors
Information

Planting and cultural practices for characterization

Environment

Soil type

Rainfall

Season

Plot size

Sampling area/border area

Plant density

Replications

Standard check cultivars

Frequency of standard checks

Time of day for data collection

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Descriptors

Morphological descriptors for characterization

Pictures for characterization

Sufficient detail should be captured in images to taxonomically identify the plant and demonstrate the traits that show variation.

Brachiaria dictyoneura florets (photo: ILRI)

Herbarium samples for characterization

Sufficient detail should be captured to taxonomically identify the plant and demonstrate the traits that show variation.

Molecular descriptors for characterization

Nutritional traits for characterization

The main use for forages is for livestock feed. Nutritional traits are therefore very important. Some common ones include:

Sorghum almum flower with anthers (photo: ILRI)

Sorghum almum inflorescence (photo: ILRI)

Brachiaria ruziziensis inflorescence (photo:ILRI)

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Recording information during characterization

The following information must be recorded for each trial:

References and further reading

IBPGR, CEC. 1985. Forage Grass Descriptors. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources Secretariat, Rome, Italy; Commission of European Communities Secretariat, Brussels. Available from: www2.bioversityinternational.org/publications/Web_version/420/. Date accessed: 16 Jan 2011.

Van de Wouw M, Hanson J, Nokoe S. 1999. Observation strategies for morphological characterisation of forages. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 46:63-71.

Click here for a list of selected references on characterization of forage grass genetic resources.

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The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.

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