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New sainfoin populations for bloat-free alfalfa pasture mixtures in western Canada

Acharya, S., Sottie, E., Coulman, B., Iwaasa, A., Mcallister, T., Wang, Y., Liu, J. (2013). New sainfoin populations for bloat-free alfalfa pasture mixtures in western Canada, 53(5), 2283-2293.


Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.), a condensed-tannin-containing legume, when present in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) pasture prevents bloat in grazing cattle. However, old sainfoin cultivars do not persist in alfalfa stands for long and in new mixed stands do not regrow at the same rate as alfalfa after cutting or grazing. This multiyear and multilocation study was initiated to determine if new sainfoin germplasm developed for their ability to survive with alfalfa can perform better than old cultivars in western Canada. In this study new sainfoin populations in pure stands persisted same as 'Nova' for 4 yr. In hay trials at Lethbridge under rain-fed and irrigated conditions, four (3432, 3519, 3900, and 3902) and three (3519, 3901, and 3902) new sainfoin populations produced significantly higher dry matter (DM) than Nova, respectively. In another set of tests where multiple harvests were taken at Lethbridge (irrigation) and Saskatoon (rain-fed), the new sainfoin populations produced higher DM yields than Nova in pure stands, persisted for three production years in mixed stands while contributing >20% DM for bloat prevention at each harvest. Nova proportions in mixed alfalfa stands decreased after the first production year. At Swift Current, however, new sainfoin populations produced significantly lower DM yield than Nova in pure stands and similar DM yield and proportions in mixed stands. Therefore, the new sainfoin populations tested may help improve hay or pasture production in most, but not in all, parts of western Canada. © Crop Science Society of America All rights reserved.

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