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Abstract Detail

Economic Botany Section

Khanal, Nityananda [1], Schellenberg, Michael [2], Coulman, Bruce [1].

Comparative yield and forage quality of Astragalus species in semi-arid condition in western Canada.

The diversity of on-farm forage resources increases options for livestock nutrition and at the same time enhances ecological resiliency of perennial stands. The genus Astragalus contains numerous potential forage plant species. An inter-specific comparative study comprising A. adsurgens Pall, A. flexuosus Douglas ex G. Don, A. poloniae, A. cicer L. (cv. Oxley II) and an Astragalus species of undetermined identity (hereinafter referred to as A. species) was conducted to assess forage yield and nutritive value. An experiment in a randomized complete block design with 6 replications was carried out at the Semi-Arid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre near Swift Current, Saskatchewan. A. flexious produced a persistent stand with no plant mortality, while for A. poloniae, there was 37% plant mortality over a winter following crop establishment. Likewise, A. cicer, A. species and A. adsurgens lost 8%, 9% and 29% of their plants, respectively. A. species plants had shorter, decumbent and relatively determinate growth habits, but leaves senesced and were shed prior to seed maturity. All other species featured indeterminate growth with better retention of foliage. Plants of A. flexious and A. adsurgens were more upright in stature, while A. cicer and A. poloniae had more decumbent growth habit. With the exception of A. adsurgens, which failed to reach physiological maturity before frost, all species produced mature seed. A. cicer produced significantly higher dry matter per plant, followed by A. adsurgens, A. flexious and A. poloniae. A. species produced significantly less dry matter per plant than other four species. For traits measuring nutritive value, A. adsurgens had significantly lower content of both acid detergent fibre and neutral detergent fibre than other species. However, there was no significant difference between A. adsurgens, A. cicer, A. poloniae and A. species for organic matter digestibility, while A. flexious had significantly lower organic matter digestibility. High intra-specific variability in the phenotypic characteristics of all species indicated opportunities for population improvement. Opportunities for further studies on agronomic improvement and adaptation are also highlighted. Key words: Astragalus, species, biomass, digestibility, variability, population

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1 - University of Saskatchewan, Plant Sciences, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5A8, Canada
2 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre, Airport Road, Swift Current, SK, S9H 3X2, Canada


Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEN003
Abstract ID:208
Candidate for Awards:None

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