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Genetic Improvement of Barley (Hordeum vulgare, L.) in Brazil: Yield Increase and Associated Traits

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Barley breeding program in Brazil has focused on characteristics associated with malting for beer purposes as the main economic application for this crop. The breeding process focused on selection for grain yield, disease resistance and malting quality. The objective of this work was to quantify the genetic gain in barley grain yield from 1968 and 2008 in Brazil and to identify the physiological characteristics associated with the increase of grain yield. Field experiments with five 2-row barley cultivars were tested from 2011 to 2013 in the absence of biotic and abiotic stresses and with mechanical restriction to lodging. The ANOVA showed no genetic gain until 1980 with average grain yield of 4.632 kg ha. After 1980, there was a productivity increase of 59.9 kg ha year. No correlation was observed between total maturity biomass and the year of release of the cultivars, while harvest index and plant height, were significantly improved. The main component associated with grain yield was the number of grains m2, due to the higher number of spikes m2 associated to a greater contribution of the tillers in the modern cultivars.

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