b'KEEP OFF THE GRASSON BREEDING FOR DISEASE RESISTANCE AND INNOVATIONS INPOA PRATENSIS. BY: MARCEL BRUINS AND TREENA HEINP oapratensis,alsoknownasPresident of Pure Seed & Pure-Seedago, there was a reduced number of crop Kentuckybluegrass,Smooth- Testing, Austin Fricker, VP of Researchprotection products available to breeders. stalked meadow grass or Smoothat Pure-Seed Testing and Dr. MelodeeHowever, Gyllenberg says for the most meadow grass, is a top choice for lawns,Fraser, Director of Research at Purepart, weve never had good chemistry for golf courses and sports pitches as it guar- Seed Testing East; and Cord Schumann,the grassy weeds we are trying to target, antees a strong surface. In our last issue,Head of Turf Grass Breeding at Deutscheand so these losses, while significant, leading Poa breeders provided insightSaatveredelung (DSV). have not been industry-killers. Whilst he into their main goals and the challengesand his colleagues would like to see more of working with this complex and hardyDISEASE AND CROPtrials and labels for products used with plant. Now, in Part 2, the focus is on dis- PROTECTIONP. pratensis, the small size of the indus-ease resistance, access to genetics andYellow rust (Puccinia striiformis) is thetry makes it rather unlikely.innovation.most important disease in P. pratensis,Grassy weeds are a particular chal-Our breeder panel includes: Henkbut all breeding companies continue tolenge because there are virtually no van der Aa, Smooth Meadow Grassmake progress with resistance withinherbicide options for seed production in Breeder, DLF; Dr. Christoph Grieder,their genetic pools. Some of the second- an annual crop rotation. This leads to Forage Crop Breeder of Agroscope,ary disease concerns are summer patch,excessive rogueing costs and potentially Zrich in Switzerland and Dr. ChristianLeaf spot, Dollar spot, Powdery mildewthe loss of entire fields if strict rotations Ochsenbein, General Manager at DSP;(in shaded areas), ergot, brown rust,are not followed, Gyllenberg says. With Tim van der Weijde, Grass Breeder &orange stripe rust Helminthosporiumweeds such as Alkaligrass (Puccinellia Research Station Manager at Barenbrugfungi and red thread. spp.), the seed lasts in the soil for many Holland BV; Cody Gyllenberg AssistantThere arent really any new dis- years and will return every time a P. Operations Manager at Columbia Riverease threats these days, notes van derpratensis rotation is attempted. This is Seed & Tom Brentano, owner and breederAa, but some of the fungal diseases area huge, worsening problem with a lack at Novel Ag; Crystal Rose-Fricker,gaining ground with the warming cli- of feasible solutions. mate. That especially applies to orangeFortheirpart,Griederand stripe rust, which can get quite severe inOchsenbein believe P. annua is the big-warm and humid summers, especially ingest problem in seed production, as it is seed production plots. very difficult to have swards clean of this And in seed plots, there hasweedy grass. To facilitate the identifica-been a significant impact intion of P. annua plants, early genera-Europe because, sincetions in the seed multiplication process about five yearsare therefore examined by planting pre-grown plantlets to the field. Additionally, the thousand seed weight of our sexu-ally-reproducing material is relatively small, limiting its distinctness from P. annua, so we also focus on increasing that in P. pratensis, says Ochsenbein. Schumann reports that at DSV, theyve been using additional mechan-ical weed control in breeding nurseries today, which adds costs, and he agrees that European seed production is more and more affected by herbicide restric-tions. I predicted already years ago that the professionals, like sod growers, will have to deal with the situation, that no crop-free (i.e. Poa annua free) material is available anymore. Maybe the quali-ty-standards have to be adapted to this future situation, which will arrive with more pesticide-restrictions.In seed production at DLF, theyve put the focus on breeding varieties that 42IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'