Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 8:55 PM

What can be learned from silage breeding programs?

Aaron J. Lorenz and James G. Coors. Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

The University of Wisconsin has conducted a silage breeding program for the past 15 years using NIRS-based predictions of forage quality. A review of the development and operation of this breeding program will provide some perspective on the future of lignocellulosic biofeedstock development programs. Evaluation of biomass yield and composition, followed by recombination of selected genotypes require logistical efficiency if significant gains are to be realized in the near future. Prior experience with measures of forage quality (e.g., fiber concentration and forage digestibility) may help if these relate well to requirements for lignocellulosic ethanol production, particularly with respect to the characteristics of the germplasm used to initiate genetic improvement programs.