Agronomic and Forage Quality Attributes of Diverse Entries of Birdsfoot Trefoil
- R. L. McGraw ,
- P. R. Beuselinck and
- G. C. Marten
There has not been an extensive evaluation of the accessions of broadleaf birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) that are available in the U.S. National Plant Introduction System. Our objective was to determine whether variability exists among a large sample of these accessions for selected agronomic and forage quality traits. Forty-eight entries from 21 countries were evaluated in a 2-yr field study. Entries included 43 foreign accessions obtained from the USDA Plant Introduction Station at Geneva, NY, two germplasms, and three cultivars. Entries were evaluated at Rosemount, MN forherbage yield, seed yield, 1000-seed mass, fall decumbency, and winter injury; at St. Paul, MN for palatability, in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM), crude protein (CP), and winter injury; and at Columbia, MO for chalcid damage and root and crown rotting disease. Entries from the USA and Canada tended to have the greatest herbage yield, seed yield, and lowest degree of winter injury when compared to other accessions. Several foreign accessions, however, performed as well as or better than the USA or Canadian entries for these agronomic traits. Differences were found among entries for IVDDM in 1984, fall decumbency, and palatability. No significant differences were found among entries for chalcid damage, root and crown rotting disease, and forage CP concentration. Although the USA and Canadian entries tended to have superior performance for many of the traits measured, the performance of individual foreign accessions warrants further evaluation and use of foreign birdsfoot trefoil germplasm.
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