The role of indeterminate growth, rooting depth and maturity time in establishing a legume seedbank under drought conditions

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Drought can be catastrophic to pasture establishment resulting in establishment failure and financial loss. A range of annual legumes with varying characteristics (capacity for extended periods of indeterminate growth, varying rooting depth and differing maturity times) were sown in a replicated trial near Kikoira in central NSW where growing season rainfall was only 44% of the long term average. Biserrula, an indeterminate, deep-rooted legume produced more than 170 kg seed/ha with one-third produced prior to the end of October. French serradella, another indeterminate, deep-rooted species but of later maturity in our study produced more than 85 kg seed/ha. The early maturing gland clover was the most successful of the shallow-rooted species in producing seed, although its seed yield was significantly less than either biserrula or French serradella. Subterranean clover failed to produce seed and annual medics produced less than 10 kg seed/ha. Trifolium diffusum, a little-known species, produced 120 kg seed/ha and requires further assessment of potential. Overall, species with capacity for extended periods of indeterminate growth, deep root systems and/or early maturity were the most successful in establishing a seed bank under severe drought conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 Agronomy Australia Conference
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Society of Agronomy
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event19th Australian Agronomy Conference 2019 - Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Duration: 25 Aug 201929 Aug 2019 (Conference website) (Conference program)


Conference19th Australian Agronomy Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleCells to Satellites
CityWagga Wagga
OtherThe 19th Australian Agronomy Conference will be held in Wagga Wagga, NSW from 25 – 29 August 2019. In the heart of the Riverina, Wagga Wagga has a range of rural industries across the region. Wagga has everything to offer the agronomy conference being surrounded by a mixed farming zone with irrigation to the west and permanent pasture enterprises to the east.
The conference theme Cells to satellites highlights the integrative nature of agronomy. Each of us work across a range of disciplines to optimise crop or pasture production for productivity and profitability. We have an increasing number of tools available to increase the precision and accuracy of our work; whether it is at the “cellular” level where DNA is mapped and biochemistry is unravelled or using “satellites” for remote sensing or guidance. The opportunities for enhancing our agronomy research is boundless.
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