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An evaluation of lines of trifolium balansae for late maturity

T.D. Rowe and A.D. Craig

Department of Agriculture, Kybybolite Research Centre Box 2, Kybybolite SA 5262

Balansa clover, Trifolium balansae , is a highly productive pasture species. Paradana is the only commercial cultivar currently available and is best suited to the 500-600 mm rainfall zone. It matures too early to make full use of the longer growing season in high rainfall districts. A later maturing cultivar would maximise dry matter production in these areas.


Paradana and 22 experimental lines of balansa clover were evaluated on a solodised solonetz soil (pH 5.6 determined on a 1:5 soil:water basis) at Kybybolite (ay. rainfall 554 mm), South Australia. Plots (2 x 4 m) were sown in a randomised block design (four replicates) on 25 May 1989 at 10 kg/ha germinable seed. Days from sowing to flowering, dry matter production and seed yield were determined for each line. "Flowering" was defined as when 50% of plants in each plot displayed one fully-opened flower. Dry matter production was determined on two occasions (16 October and 13 November 1989) by cutting one 0.5 m2 quadrat in each plot to ground level. Seed yield was measured (0.5 m2 quadrat) using a vacuum harvester. Plots remained ungrazed throughout the year.

Results and discussion

Paradana flowered 150 days after sowing while the experimental lines flowered from 150-158 days. No significant differences in dry matter production existed between Paradana and any of the experimental lines at either harvest. Dry matter production of all lines increased by an average of 46% between the first harvest (144 days after sowing) and the second harvest (all lines senesced). None of the experimental lines produced more seed than Paradana while five produced less seed. Data for Paradana and the 10 latest maturing experimental lines are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Flowering and production data for Paradana and 10 late maturing lines of balansa clover.

The initial screening of this material has identified lines with later maturity than Paradana. Failure to detect differences between the late season production of Paradana and these late lines may, in part, be attributed to a below-average November rainfall (12 mm vs. 37 mm). Future research will study the performance of these lines in higher rainfall districts.


This work was financed by the Wool Research and Development Corporation.

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