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07.12.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 1/2018

Gaps in the capacity of modern forage crops to adapt to the changing climate in northern Europe

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change > Ausgabe 1/2018
Mäkinen Hanna, Kaseva Janne, Virkajärvi Perttu, Kahiluoto Helena
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11027-016-9729-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


The within-species diversity in response to weather and the gaps in the response diversity in the modern set of forage crop cultivars were determined using an approach that assessed the adaptive capacity under global climate change. The annual dry matter (DM) yields were recorded in multi-location MTT (Maa- ja elintarviketalouden tutkimuskeskus) Agrifood Research Official Variety Trials in Finland for modern forage crop cultivars from 2000 to 2012, as a response to agroclimatic variables critical to yield based on the year-round weather data. The effect and interaction of cultivars and agroclimatic variables were analysed using mixed model. The relatively low adaptive capacity of timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.) indicates that diversification of the breeding material is warranted, particularly for resistance to high temperatures during primary growth and to high temperature sum 7 days after the first cut. All red clover cultivars (Trifolium pratense L.) suffered from both low and high accumulation of warm winter temperatures. Except for the red clover cultivars, cold stress during winter and lack of warm winter temperatures consistently reduced the yields of all species and cultivars. All tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars suffered from low precipitation during the fall hardening period. Although the set of festulolium (Festulolium pabulare) cultivars was also sensitive to low precipitation during the fall, festulolium was a good example of enhanced capacity to adapt to climate change with high response diversity because the cultivar germplasm base was diversified. Foreign origin in a cultivar pool was apparently not sufficient or necessary to ensure added value for a diversity of responses to climate change. Similar analyses to those used in this study, applied as practical tools for breeders, farmers and public actors, are important to secure the adaptive capacity of crops worldwide under global climate change.
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