Fitting germplasm types of tall fescue and orchardgrass to different cropping environments of the mediterranean region

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Understanding of adaptation targets, selection environments, genetic resources, and plant types is required in breeding tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbysh.] and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) for Mediterranean environments prone to drought stress. Fourth-year forage yield of seven orchardgrass and five fescue cultivars grown in Algeria and Sardinia revealed (i) crossover cultivar x location interaction in orchardgrass, with dormant germplasm performing best in the drier Algerian site, and nondormant Mediterranean material performing best in Sardinia; and (ii) the advantage of tall fescue over orchardgrass in both sites. Yield of Algerian populations of orchardgrass and tall fescue grown in Algeria was generally lower than the best control (‘Flecha’ tall fescue). Other studies in Italy showed (i) the possibility to select orchardgrass from Mediterranean germplasm that combines summer survival under moderate stress with response to summer rain events; (ii) the nil effect in a Mediterranean site, and the slightly positive effect in a subcontinental climate site of endophyte infection on tall fescue survival; and (iii) the adaptation of Mediterranean and Continental fescue germplasm to their respective climatic areas.

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