Genetic progress in homogeneous regions of wheat cultivation in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil.
The State of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) stands out as the largest wheat producer in Brazil. Wheat is the most emphasized winter cereal in RS, attracting public and private investments directed to wheat genetic breeding. The study of genetic progress should be performed routinely at breeding programs to study the behavior of cultivars developed for homogeneous regions of cultivation. The objectives of this study were: 1) to evaluate the genetic progress of wheat grain yield in RS; 2) to evaluate the influence of cultivar competition trial stratification in homogeneous regions of cultivation on the study of genetic progress. Grain yield data of 122 wheat cultivars evaluated in 137 trials arranged in randomized block design with three or four replications were used. Field trials were carried out in 23 locations in RS divided into two homogeneous regions during the period from 2002 to 2013. Genetic progress for RS and homogeneous regions was studied utilizing the method proposed by Vencovsky. Annual genetic progress for wheat grain yield during the period of 12 years in the State of RS was 2.86%, oscillating between homogeneous regions of cultivation. The difference of annual genetic progress in region 1 (1.82%) in relation to region 2 (4.38%) justifies the study of genetic progress by homogeneous regions of cultivation.