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Comparative production of annual medics in Jordan and South Australia

M.H. Ababneh1, E.D. Carter1 and P.G. Tow2

1 Waite Agricultural Research Institute, The University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064
2
Roseworthy Agricultural College, Roseworthy, South Australia 5371

A cereal-fallow rotation is still the main farming system in rainfed areas of the West Asia-North Africa region (1). However, pasture legumes can successfully replace the fallow period, improving levels of soil nitrogen and feed supply, thus improving both cereal and livestock production. The research reported here was part of a larger programme to examine the comparative behaviour and potential productivity in Jordan and South Australia of two commercial Australian cultivars (Medicago scutellata cv. Sava and M. truncatula cv. Paraggio) and two selected regional ecotypes of medic from West Asia (M. rigidula Sel. # 716 and M. rotata Sel. # 1943).

Methods

Jordan (Mushaga Research Station:Lat. 3145'N, Long. 3345'E, Alt. 775m) An experiment was sown on 17 November 1986 on clay-loam soil of pH 7.9 with plots 2m x 5m and 4 replicates in a randomized block design. All seeds were inoculated and sown at rates equivalent to 30 kg/ha of pure germinating seed of Paraggio with 100 kg/ha of triple superphosphate (46% P) broadcast just before sowing. Eighteen wire sampling quadrats (each 40 x 25 cm) were placed on each plot directly after sowing. Herbage harvests commenced 4 weeks after emergence and continued at 14-day intervals. Two quadrats per plot were sampled on each harvest occasion. South Australia (Waite Institute:Lat. 3458'S, Long. 13838'E, Alt. 122m). The experiment was sown on 17 June 1988 on a hard-setting, red-brown earth soil of pH 6.5 after liming. The procedures described for the experiment in Jordan were used.

Results and discussion

Table 1. Cumulative production (kg DM/ha) from the four annual medics grown in Jordan (JOR.) and South Australia (S.A.).

Differences in productivity of medic cultivars appeared in the early harvests. Although 12 weeks after emergence, M. rotata produced the best DM yields in Jordan, its final yield was far less than the other three genotypes in both Jordan and South Australia. Similarly, M. rigidula out- produced the two Australian cultivars at 12 weeks in Jordan but finished the season in Jordan well behind M. scutellata and M. truncatula. However, with a late finish to the season in South Australia, M. rigidula continued to produce. The data suggest that both M. rigidula and M. rotata may have a place in southern Australia, especially in mixtures. Further research is continuing along these lines.

1. Carter, E.D. (1978). Report to the International Agricultural Research Centre, ICARDA, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, 120p.

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