Predicting Stem Strength in Diverse Bioenergy Sorghum Genotypes Academic Article uri icon


  • Crop Science Society of America | 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA All rights reserved. Stem biomechanical properties dictate the mechanical stability of crop plants and ultimately their lodging resistance. This study evaluated stem mechanical, morphological, anatomical, and composition traits to assess their association with historical lodging ratings and developed new approaches to predict stem strength. Significant genotypic variation for stem strength, rigidity, and stiffness existed among 15 bioenergy Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench genotypes that were selected to represent a range of stem lodging tendencies. Repeat-abilities for the mechanical traits ranged from moderate to high across environments (0.58 0.92), high within environments (0.810.89), and low to high for maturity groups (0.310.89). Lodging rating was moderately correlated with internode density (r = 0.60, P < 0.01), length (r = 0.61, P < 0.01), and rigidity (r = 0.60, P < 0.05). Mechanical traits were highly correlated with morphological traits; correlations with anatomical or composition traits were lower. Using this information, two predictive models were developed. In Model 1, stiffness explained 69% of the total variation for stem strength. In Model 2, a combination of internode density, volume, and stiffness explained 75% of the total variation. Both prediction models were robust and were not confounded by internode number, cultivar type, maturity group, or environment. The results indicate that indirect selection of lodging-related traits may be possible with the specific use of stiffness as a selective breeding tool to improve lodging resistance.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Gomez, F. E., Muliana, A. H., & Rooney, W. L.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Gomez, Francisco E||Muliana, Anastasia H||Rooney, William L

publication date

  • January 2018