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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Quality of First Growth Crownvetch Forage and Its Potential for Improvement1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 386-389
    Received: Aug 30, 1973

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  1. J. S. Shenk and
  2. M. L. Risius2



Interest has been developing in the utilization of crown vetch (Coronilla varia L.) forage as livestock feed. In 1969 and 1970, changes in the quality of first growth forage from three crownvetch cultivars were characterized. Forage from ‘Penngift,’ ‘Chemung,’ and ‘Emerald’ was harvested during the spring at weekly intervals from field plots. First growth forage increased in dry matter percentages and cell wall constituents and deceased in in vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD) and protein percentages from late May to late June. These changes in forage quality were similar for the three cultivars but significant year effects for most quality traits were found.

The potential for improving the quality of crownvetch forage by breeding and selection was explored by determining the variation for quality and morphological traits among individual plants of Penngift and Chemung. In each cultivar, forage was harvested at first flower from 24 plants. Significant variation for morphological traits, IVDMD, and protein was found among plants within each cultivar. Differences among plants for cell wall concentration and composition were significant for Penngift only. Flowering date, stem length, and regrowth height were not significantly correlated with IVDMD. Although dry matter, protein, and estimated digestibility were significantly correlated with IVDMD, none of the relationships were strong enough to use for predictive purposes. The in vitro system would seem to be the most useful procedure for screening individual plants for higher forage quality.

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