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Keywords:

  • Triticosecale;
  • combining ability;
  • grain yield heterosis;
  • hybrids

Abstract

Hybrid breeding is a widely discussed alternative for triticale. Heterosis as well as general (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) effects were estimated for eight agronomic traits. The experiment comprised 24 F1 hybrids, produced by a chemical hybridizing agent, together with their six female and four male parents, grown in drilled plots in two locations. In comparison with the mid-parent values, hybrids averaged a 6.4 dt/ha (10.1%) higher grain yield, 8.4% more kernels per spike, a 6.8% higher 1000-kernel weight, 9.7% lower falling number (FN) and 4.4% greater plant height. SCA effects for grain yield were significant and ranged from 4.5 to 6.9 dt/ha for grain yield. Together with GCA x location interactions, they explained most of the variation. For 1000-kernel weight, GCA effects were predominant. SCA and interactions with location accounted for most of the variation in FN, whereas interactions were negligible for plant height. Correlations between mid-parent and hybrid performance and between GCA and per se performance of parents were tight for all traits except grain yield, which allows for pre-selection of parental lines. Although the amount of heterosis in triticale at present is closer to wheat than to rye, by selecting parents for combining ability and identifying heterotic patterns, grain yield heterosis of up to 20% appears sufficiently encouraging to embark on hybrid breeding.