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Ulisses José de Figueiredo, Yasmin Vasques Berchembrock, Cacilda Borges do Valle, Sanzio Carvalho Lima Barrios, Kenneth H. Quesenberry, Patrício Ricardo Muñoz and José Airton Rodrigues Nunes

Abstract: Perennial grass hybrids of Urochloa are evaluated for at least two years during the screening stage trials (SS) and advanced trials (AD) in breeding programs, an expensive and time-consuming process. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential for early selection of cultivars in this breeding scheme. We used multiple measurements of agronomic and nutritive value traits of Urochloa humidicola and Urochloa decumbens in the SS, and Urochloa ssp. in the AD. Repeatability coefficient, genetic correlation, selection efficiency (SE), and Spearman correlations were estimated. The results indicated that reliable early selection could be applied, decreasing the evaluation period to one year and a half for SS, and to one year for AD. These results were confirmed by high genetic and rank correlations, and overall SE above 50%. This proposed change in the breeding scheme could save considerable time, labor, and resources and accelerate the release of improved cultivars

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