The aim of this paper is to present a statistical methodology to assess patterns of cultivars' adaptive response to agricultural environments (agroecosystems) on the basis of complete Genotype x Crop Management x Location x Year (GxMxLxY) data obtained from 3-year multi-location twofactor trials conducted within the framework of the Polish post-registration trials (PDOiR), with an illustration of the application and usefulness of this methodology in analyzing winter wheat grain yield. Producing specific varieties for each subregion of a target region, from widely adapted varieties, may exploit positive genotype x location (GL) interactions to increase crop yields. Experiments designed to examine combinations of environment (E), management practices (M) and cultivars (G) also provide evidence of the relative importance of each of these factors for yield improvement. The evidence shows that variation due to E far outweighs the variation of grain yield that can be attributed to M or G, or the interactions between these factors, and between these factors and E (Anderson, 2010). This statistical method involves the use of functional PCA and cluster analysis. A total of 24 cultivars were evaluated over 3 years in 20 environments using randomized incomplete split-block designs with two replications per trial. The methodology proved an efficient tool for the reliable classification of 24 winter wheat cultivars, distinguishing cultivar groups that exhibited homogeneous adaptive response to environments. It enables the identification of cultivars displaying wide or specific adaptation. The remaining cultivars were locally adapted to some testing environments, or some of them were not relatively adapted to the environments because they always yielded substantially below the environmental means. Performing earlier specific selection, or adopting distinct genetic bases for each agro-ecosystem, may further increase the advantage of specific breeding.
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