Using an “Index of Merit” to Evaluate Winterhardy Pea Lines

  •  Azize Homer    
  •  Robin Groose    


Winter feed pea (Pisum sativum ssp. arvense) might serve as a partial or complete replacement for fallow in the winter wheat-summer fallow (WW-SF) system with potential to integrate cereal and livestock production in the Central Great Plains (CGP). The objective of this study was to evaluate advanced winter pea lines bred in the Wyoming environment in comparison with existing winter feed pea cultivars that were bred elsewhere. Six elite lines, one a blend of two lines, and three check cultivars were compared for overall merit, based on yield for forage and seed, and in two different production systems, dryland and irrigated, and at two locations (Lingle WY and Laramie WY) during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 growing seasons. Indices of merit, calculated in two ways: a mean-adjusted index and a standardized index, were used to simultaneously evaluate lines/cultivars for forage and seed yield. Based on the results from both indices, five Wyoming-bred elite lines (one a blend of two lines) ranked in the top five lines of 10 lines/cultivars tested. Importantly, three Wyoming-bred lines (Wyo#11, Wyo#11 +Wyo#13, and Wyo#13) all ranked significantly higher for overall merit than any existing winter feed pea cultivar tested in this study: ‘Common’, ‘Specter’ and ‘Windham’. Because four measures of merit in the both indices are positively correlated no serious compromises or “trade-offs” are manifested among these four traits. This research shows that winter pea has potential value for forage and seed yield, mostly depending on growing season precipitation in the CGP.

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