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Does the presence of the gene for glabrous hull in annual canarygrass affect the response to chloride fertilizer?

May, W., C.B. Holzapfel, G.P. Lafond, and J.J. Schoenau. 2013. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 93: 109-118


Annual canarygrass is an important cereal crop in western Canada with a unique niche market as feed for caged birds. Chloride (Cl) fertilizer has been shown to increase seed yield in annual canarygrass; however, the response was only tested in one glabrous cultivar. Currently, glabrous cultivars created through mutagenesis, are lower yielding than cultivars with trichomes on their lemma, palea and glumes. The objective of this study was to determine if the mutagenic process which created cultivars that lack trichomes on their lemma, palea and glumes also affected the response of annual canarygrass to chloride fertilizer. A two-way factorial study was conducted across 7 site-years. The first factor was Cl applied at two rates (0 and 18.2 kg Cl ha-1) and the second factor was four cultivars (Keet, Cantate, CDC Togo (glabrous) and CDC Bastia (glabrous). The application of Cl increased the seed yield of annual canarygrass by 25% and most of this increase was due to a 21% increase in seeds per panicle. Kernel weight also contributed to increased seed yield. Chloride did not interact with the presence or absence of trichomes and therefore growers can expect to receive a yield increase from the application of Cl regardless of the annual canarygrass cultivar grown. Growers should apply 9 kg ha-1 of Cl when growing annual canarygrass. In conclusion, Cl is not involved in the physiology of the lower yield in glabrous cultivars compared with cultivars with trichomes, and Cl could not explain the seed yield differences between the two types of annual canarygrass.

Key Words

Canaryseed, annual canarygrass, environmental conditions, seed yield, yield stability