Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

The effect of temperature on the field softening of hard seed of Stylosanthes humilis and S. hamata in a dry monsoonal climate

GM McKeon and JJ Mott

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 33(1) 75 - 85
Published: 1982


The changes in hard-seed content in pastures of Stylosanthes humilis and S. hamata cv. Verano were studied at Katherine, N.T. Both field studies and laboratory ovens with diurnal temperature changes showed that maximum soil surface temperatures greater than 50-55¦C were required to produce substantial softening of hard seed. The rate of softening increased with higher maximum temperature. At Katherine, only the September-November period (late dry season) was likely to produce soil surface temperatures high enough for softening in naturally occurring seed populations. S. hamata did not soften to the same extent as S. humilis under both field and laboratory conditions. In established pastures only 35 % of S. hamata seed softened in one year, compared with 60-80% in S. humilis. Management practices may be required to improve seedling regeneration or establishment of new pastures in S. hamata.

© CSIRO 1982

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