Track 1-03

Description

The economic and ecological benefits of forage legumes are well known. While perennial legumes can be useful in various aspects (Ledgard 2001), some legumes have short persistence in swards (Frame et al.1998; Vaiciulyte and Bacenas 2008) which is undesirable for organic farms where no mineral nitrogen is applied. Early flowering red clover (Trifolium pratense), which is the most common legume in Lithuania, has high yields only in the first – second years of use. In the third year, it often disappears completely.

In Lithuania, fodder galega (Galega orientalis) is the most long lived legume exhibiting the best overwinter sur-vival (Balezentiene and Mikulioniene 2006). For this study we selected a mixture of legumes, less commonly used than red clover: common sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), fod-der galega (Galega orientalis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). The objective of our research was to study the productivity and persistence of more long lived legume species on an organic farm as a pure crop and in mixtures with other legumes and grasses under an extensive (2-3 cuts) management regime.

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Perennial Legume Swards for Organic Farming System in Lithuania

The economic and ecological benefits of forage legumes are well known. While perennial legumes can be useful in various aspects (Ledgard 2001), some legumes have short persistence in swards (Frame et al.1998; Vaiciulyte and Bacenas 2008) which is undesirable for organic farms where no mineral nitrogen is applied. Early flowering red clover (Trifolium pratense), which is the most common legume in Lithuania, has high yields only in the first – second years of use. In the third year, it often disappears completely.

In Lithuania, fodder galega (Galega orientalis) is the most long lived legume exhibiting the best overwinter sur-vival (Balezentiene and Mikulioniene 2006). For this study we selected a mixture of legumes, less commonly used than red clover: common sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), fod-der galega (Galega orientalis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). The objective of our research was to study the productivity and persistence of more long lived legume species on an organic farm as a pure crop and in mixtures with other legumes and grasses under an extensive (2-3 cuts) management regime.