Track 1-03

Description

Perennial warm-season grass pastures, primarily bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L] Pers..)) and bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flugge)),, cover approximately 12 million hectares in the US southern region (US Census of Agric. 2002). These grasses are used for grazing, hay production or both. Bermuda grass and bahia grass are dormant from late fall until early spring with some variation in total dormancy period depending on seasonal conditions and latitude. Cool-season forage legumes can be over-seeded in the fall before the perennial grasses become dormant, providing winter grazing and nitrogen for the pasture system. The legumes sown in these grasslands are often acid tolerant species from the Trifolium genus as the predominant soils of the US southern region are sandy, acidic and highly leached. Legume breeding programs have been in place for 30 years with the general objective to develop more reliable forage legume cultivars to co-exist in these perennial grassland systems. Our improvement programs have addressed such problems as virus and fungal disease susceptibility (Pemberton et al. 1989; Pemberton et al. 1998) in arrowleaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi.), poor seedling regeneration (Evers and Smith, 2006) in crimson clover (T. incarnatum L.) and low persistence in white clover (T. repens L.). These research efforts are further described below.

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Breeding Forage Legumes to Complement Warm Season Perennial Grass Pastures in the US Southern Region

Perennial warm-season grass pastures, primarily bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L] Pers..)) and bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flugge)),, cover approximately 12 million hectares in the US southern region (US Census of Agric. 2002). These grasses are used for grazing, hay production or both. Bermuda grass and bahia grass are dormant from late fall until early spring with some variation in total dormancy period depending on seasonal conditions and latitude. Cool-season forage legumes can be over-seeded in the fall before the perennial grasses become dormant, providing winter grazing and nitrogen for the pasture system. The legumes sown in these grasslands are often acid tolerant species from the Trifolium genus as the predominant soils of the US southern region are sandy, acidic and highly leached. Legume breeding programs have been in place for 30 years with the general objective to develop more reliable forage legume cultivars to co-exist in these perennial grassland systems. Our improvement programs have addressed such problems as virus and fungal disease susceptibility (Pemberton et al. 1989; Pemberton et al. 1998) in arrowleaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi.), poor seedling regeneration (Evers and Smith, 2006) in crimson clover (T. incarnatum L.) and low persistence in white clover (T. repens L.). These research efforts are further described below.