Track 1-02

Description

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) pastures for beef cattle production are productive and sustainable; however, susceptibility to the psyllid insect (Heteropsylla cubana) has limited expansion of current commercial cultivars into more humid areas (> 800 mm/yr) (Shelton and Dalzell 2007). Psyllids can also cause intermittent damage in lower rainfall regions during humid periods. The psyllid, which arrived in Australia in 1986, is a leaf-sucking insect specific to the Leucaena genus, feeding on the growing tips of susceptible cultivars (Bray 1994). Psyllid damage can reduce production by as much as 50-70% in humid regions and 20-50% in subhumid environments (Bray 1994; Mullen and Shelton 2003). Work on psyllid resistance in the Leucaena genus through the 1990s showed that several Leucaena species, including the tetraploid L. pallida, had good levels of resistance (Mullen et al. 2003).

A breeding program to develop psyllid-resistant varieties began in 2002 at The University of Queensland (UQ) based on the F1 inter-specific hybrids between L. leucocephala and L. pallida (known as ‘KX2’), developed at the University of Hawaii (Brewbaker 2008). Between 2002 and 2005, UQ initiated a program of recurrent selection in an attempt to produce stable outcrossed KX2-derived lines but inbreeding depression for yield and poor forage quality led to a change in the breeding strategy, and a backcrossing program was implemented between 2005 and 2008. Two cycles of backcrossing to elite L. leucocephala ssp. glabrata material were completed followed by 2 cycles of progeny testing and selection for self-compatibility to achieve stability and uniformity (2009 - 2012). Forty elite psyllid-resistant lines were then evaluated to identify the most suitable lines for release to industry. This paper describes the results of these trials.

Share

COinS
 

Selection of Psyllid-Resistant Forage Varieties from an Inter-Specific Breeding Program of Leucaena leucocephala with L. pallida

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) pastures for beef cattle production are productive and sustainable; however, susceptibility to the psyllid insect (Heteropsylla cubana) has limited expansion of current commercial cultivars into more humid areas (> 800 mm/yr) (Shelton and Dalzell 2007). Psyllids can also cause intermittent damage in lower rainfall regions during humid periods. The psyllid, which arrived in Australia in 1986, is a leaf-sucking insect specific to the Leucaena genus, feeding on the growing tips of susceptible cultivars (Bray 1994). Psyllid damage can reduce production by as much as 50-70% in humid regions and 20-50% in subhumid environments (Bray 1994; Mullen and Shelton 2003). Work on psyllid resistance in the Leucaena genus through the 1990s showed that several Leucaena species, including the tetraploid L. pallida, had good levels of resistance (Mullen et al. 2003).

A breeding program to develop psyllid-resistant varieties began in 2002 at The University of Queensland (UQ) based on the F1 inter-specific hybrids between L. leucocephala and L. pallida (known as ‘KX2’), developed at the University of Hawaii (Brewbaker 2008). Between 2002 and 2005, UQ initiated a program of recurrent selection in an attempt to produce stable outcrossed KX2-derived lines but inbreeding depression for yield and poor forage quality led to a change in the breeding strategy, and a backcrossing program was implemented between 2005 and 2008. Two cycles of backcrossing to elite L. leucocephala ssp. glabrata material were completed followed by 2 cycles of progeny testing and selection for self-compatibility to achieve stability and uniformity (2009 - 2012). Forty elite psyllid-resistant lines were then evaluated to identify the most suitable lines for release to industry. This paper describes the results of these trials.