Track 1-03

Description

One of the strategies to improve pasture and crop productivity in the Mediterranean zone of Chile has been the introduction and use of annual legumes (del Pozo and Ovalle 2009; Ovalle et al. 2010). The growth rate of annual legumes is low during autumn and winter, and the distribution of the biomass production is mainly concentrated in spring when temperatures are moderate and soil water is available. It is hypothesized that perennial deep-rooted legumes can play a key role in improving soil physicochemical characteristics as well as water-use efficiency (Cocks 2001; Dear et al. 2003; Ward 2006). In addition, plants with deep roots can uptake nutrients from deeper soil layers in nutrient-deficient soils (McCallum et al. 2004) and could improve soil water infiltration.

The objective was to introduce and evaluate the persistence of new germplasm of perennial forage legumes to summer drought in the Mediterranean zone of central Chile.

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New Herbaceous Perennial Legumes in Dryland Mediterranean Agroecosystems: Pasture Persistence and Productivity

One of the strategies to improve pasture and crop productivity in the Mediterranean zone of Chile has been the introduction and use of annual legumes (del Pozo and Ovalle 2009; Ovalle et al. 2010). The growth rate of annual legumes is low during autumn and winter, and the distribution of the biomass production is mainly concentrated in spring when temperatures are moderate and soil water is available. It is hypothesized that perennial deep-rooted legumes can play a key role in improving soil physicochemical characteristics as well as water-use efficiency (Cocks 2001; Dear et al. 2003; Ward 2006). In addition, plants with deep roots can uptake nutrients from deeper soil layers in nutrient-deficient soils (McCallum et al. 2004) and could improve soil water infiltration.

The objective was to introduce and evaluate the persistence of new germplasm of perennial forage legumes to summer drought in the Mediterranean zone of central Chile.