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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3M30G
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Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb) seed production and establishment in Alberta Open Access
- Other title
Grass: Legume mixtures
- Type of item
- Degree grantor
University of Alberta
- Author or creator
Walker, Jennifer A.
- Supervisor and department
King, Jane (AFNS)
- Examining committee member and department
Bork, Edward (AFNS)
Cahill, J. C. (Biological Sciences)
Coulman, Bruce (University of Saskatchewan)
Spaner, Dean (AFNS)
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
- Date accepted
- Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
- Degree level
Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum) is a perennial legume species that has been found to have exceptional persistence in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. There are two challenges that impede the incorporation of Kura clover into pasture mixtures in Alberta. The first is the lack of available seed, and the second is poor establishment success in mixtures with highly competitive grass species. A series of experiments were conducted to (i) address the potential for seed production in a central Alberta environment and (ii) to determine alternative strategies for establishment in mixtures.
Kura clover successfully flowered and produced seed under central Alberta growing conditions. Seed production was greater from the cultivar Endura than Cossack. Kura clover seed production was not affected by row spacing however, yield was greater when clover was planted at 3 or 6 kg/ha versus 9 or 12 kg/ha. Seed yield ranged from 80 kg/ha to 350 kg/ha.
Establishing Kura clover with a cover crop reduced flowering and seed production. Corn (Zea mays) was the least competitive cover crop, followed by faba bean (Vicia faba L.). Canola (Brassica napus), peas (Pisum sativum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare) and triticale (X Tritosecale) reduced Kura clover seed yield and are not recommended as cover crops.
Comparison of above and below ground competition between Kura clover and meadow bromegrass (Bromus biebersteinii), indicated that below ground competition has the greatest impact on Kura clover seedling growth.
Altering seeding rate and delaying introduction of the grass species by up to two months significantly improved Kura clover establishment in mixtures.
Kura clover survival in established pastures was higher with physical than chemical sod suppression of the standing forage. Dry matter yield of Kura clover was greatest when defoliated at 6 week intervals.
Challenges still remain regarding seed production and establishment of Kura clover. However, we successfully addressed the major concerns regarding the potential of Kura clover in Alberta.
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