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Preliminary evaluation of persian clover

R. Snowball

Western Australian Department of Agriculture Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, W.A. 6151

Persian clover (Trifolium resupinatum L.) has been shown to be highly productive on the Rendzina soils of the south-east of South Australia (1). Because of the success of this species a programme was established to evaluate all known accessions for their suitability to the south-west of Western Australia.

Methods

A total of 257 lines of Persian clover were grown in single 1 m rows spaced 1.5 m apart at the Medina Research Station. Seed was planted on May 7, 1987 and irrigated when required. Oats were sown between rows to reduce contamination from virus carrying aphids, cross pollination by wind and bees, and contamination of wind borne mature seed heads or calyces.

Results and discussion

Flowering time ranged from 74 to 180 days, with most lines flowering between 100 and 160 days (Table 1). There was a large range in stem thickness from 1 mm to over 10 mm with a fairly even distribution of lines over that range (Table 2). Hardseed levels from a 60/15C cabinet show the distribution of lines over a range from 0 to 99% hardseed (Table 3). Over 30% of lines had an initial hardseed level of 10% or less, while after 4 months of testing nearly 60% of lines fell to that level. Seed harvested from 1 m rows weighed from less than 1 g in poorly adapted lines to nearly 200 g in the highest yielding lines. Lines can now be selected to suit specific niches.

Table 1. Range in flowering time of lines of Persian clover

Table 2. Range in stem thickness of lines of Persian clover

Table 3. Range in hard seed content of lines of Persian clover

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