More fodder for livestock

June 12, 2012 at 7:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forage legumes provide high-protein fodder for livestock, and improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. ICARDA scientists are developing dual-purpose varieties of field pea (Pisum sativus) suitable for low-rainfall areas. One hundred Pisum genotypes are being tested on a 1400 m2 plot at Tel Hadya, and a similar plot at the nearby Breda station. Measurements of hay, grain and straw yield and quality will help identify genotypes that combine good grain and forage characteristics.

Other trials are evaluating cereal-legume combinations that are more productive and sustainable than the widespread practice of growing barley monocultures for livestock feed. Three cereals (barley, oat and triticale) and two forage legumes (vetch and grasspea), grown in pure stands and as mixed crops, are being tested under various cutting regimes (differences in timing and method). Measurements of re-grown herbage yields, combined with analysis of soil samples and forage quality, will help identify optimal crop combinations and management regimes for different agro-ecologies.

For more information contact Dr Serkan Ates, forage scientist, email S.Ates@cgiar.org

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