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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 36(1)

High levels of diversity for seed and forage production exist in Cullen australasicum, a potential new perennial forage legume for dry environments in southern Australia

Alan W. Humphries A D E , Stephen J. Hughes A D , Ramakrishnan M. Nair A B D , Eric Kobelt A and Graeme Sandral C D

A SARDI, Waite Campus, PO Box 397, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
B Present address: AVRDC – The World Vegetable Centre, South Asia, ICRISAT Campus, Patancheru, Hyderabad, AP 502 324, India.
C NSW Department of Primary Industries, Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.
D CRC for Future Farm Industries, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: alan.humphries@sa.gov.au

The Rangeland Journal 36(1) 41-51 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ13055
Submitted: 23 May 2013  Accepted: 11 October 2013   Published: 19 November 2013


 
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Abstract

The seed and forage production of a diverse group of the perennial forage legume Cullen spp., collected in southern Australia, was assessed with the aim of discovering diversity for exploitation in future breeding programs. Eighty ecotypes were assessed at the Waite Institute in South Australia, using replicated, spaced-plant field trials, between 2008 and 2012. Seed production in collected ecotypes of Cullen (Expt 1) ranged from 0 to 485 kg ha–1 for windrowed seed yield and from 0 to 790 kg ha–1 for total seed yield, which included vacuum-harvested seed from pods that had fallen to the ground. Individual plants were selected for seed production from their original populations, and the seed and fodder production of their progeny was evaluated in a further field experiment (Expt 2). Moderate to high heritability estimates were recorded for seed production traits. Seed production in progeny families ranged from 0 to1 423 kg ha–1 and was highly correlated with the number of seeds per inflorescence (r = 0.85) and forage yield (r = 0.59). Edible biomass, measured using the Adelaide visual appraisal method, ranged from 50 to 906 g dry weight  (DW)  plant–1 in parent ecotypes and from 404 to 1248 g DW plant–1 in the selected family progenies. Disease infection with anthracnose (Colletotrichum trifolii) caused considerable damage to plants in Expt 1, resulting in the death of all plants of 10 ecotypes, and infection with Alfalfa mosaic virus in Expt 2 was linked to the death of 67 individuals. The results are discussed in relation to breeding C. australasicum for increased seed yield and disease resistance to overcome these deficiencies as barriers to commercial adoption.

Additional keywords: Bullamon lucerne, domestication, scurf pea, seed production, tall verbine.


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