Importance of Hard Seed in Forage Legumes Produced in Uruguay
Keywords:seeds, hard seeds, emergence, legumes, forage
Forage legumes, especially red clover, white clover, alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil, are the basis of cultivated multiannual grassland livestock production in Uruguay. Germination percentage for these species in the laboratory corresponds to the sum of the normal seedlings and the hard seeds. Seed lots sold in the country indicate the minimum percentage of germination and physical purity of the lot on the label. The overall objective of this study was to analyze the importance of hard seeds in national commercial lots of forage legumes. The results of 647 laboratory analysis at INASE of three years (2009, 2010 and 2011) were used, and two emergency field trials were carried out: «hard» and «total» seeds. The interaction species x year (p < 0.0001) in the percentage of hard seeds was significant in lots studied. There were no significant differences in the emergence of hard seeds due to the high or low proportion of hard seeds in the lot for any evaluated date, but there were significant differences between species in the emergency. The number of alfalfa seedlings was higher than other species in the first 30 days after planting. At 90 days after planting, red clover still had the lowest plant emergence in relation to other species. The results induce further study of this feature for each legume species, since it differs in its actions as a survival mechanism.
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