Genetic divergence among corn hybrids and combining ability for agronomic and bromatological traits of silage.
We assessed the impact of genetic divergence and the ability to combine corn hybrids used for the production of silage on the agronomic and bromatological traits of silage quality. We evaluated 18 corn hybrids used as genitors in a circulant diallel scheme in which each genitor hybrid participated in 9 hybrid combinations, and evaluated 100 treatments [18 genitor hybrids, 81 diallelic hybrids, and a commercial check hybrid (DKB330)] in a triple lattice 10 x 10 experimental design in two environments in Brazil. Genetic variability was adequate among the corn silage hybrids, and we can recommend the use of genitors 2B688 and P30B39 for the formation of a base population for intrapopulational breeding. The P30P34 hybrid is the best for intrapopulational breeding when aiming for silage with high protein content, low fiber content, and higher in vitro digestibility. Interpopulational breeding directed at improving silage digestibility can use a combination of genitors P30P34 and AS1572, but AS1572 and P30K64 are the most recommended. Hybrids 2B688, P30P34, and SG6015 are considered the most genetically distant of the others hybrids, and have desirable combining potential; therefore, they are important genitors for the formation of new segregated populations for improving corn silage.