The agricultural value of birdsfoot trefoils in Scotland

Charlton, John Frederic Livingstone (1972) The agricultural value of birdsfoot trefoils in Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The herbage legume in the cheapest actual and potential source of nitrogen and high protein herbage. within the large area of natural grassland in Britain. A major economic improvement could be achieved by encouraging legumes to grow and spread in those regions. The development of birdsfoot trefoil and march birdsfoot trefoil and legumes for use on poor areas has taken place in many countries during recent years. Birdsfoot trefoil is distributed throughout the British Isles on well-drained poor soils whereas marsh birdsfoot trefoil is prevalent in wet acidic areas. A series of experiments was therefore carried out at the west of Scotland Agricultural College from 1966 onwards determine the potential value of these species under British conditions. Pot experiments with birdsfoot trefoil under glasshouse conditions indicated come trends in the species' competitive abilities when grown with major species of companion grass during the establishment phase. A. range of ecotypes and oultivars of this species was evaluated in spaced-plant and spaced-clump experiments at the College some promising material was recorded. notably genotypes of Russian origin and an ecotype of march birds-foot trefoil. A sward experiment felled to show any promise for birdsfoot trefoil under a hay-cropping system in Stirlingehire but a series of upland sward experiments revealed some notable features concerning the management of birdsfoot trefoil in renovation practices. The need for spring sowing after normal applications of lime and basic slag fertilisers was evident, as was a requirement for extra potash fertiliser under peaty condition. In one experiment birdsfoot trefoil cultivars gradually disappeared under close-grazing treatments, whereon a New Zealand cultivar of march birdsfoot trefoil remained vigorous and considerably out-yielded white clover when samples were taken in the fourth year of growth. Accordingly, a world-wide collection of march birdsfoot trefoil ecotypes was examined in spaced-clump experiments at lowland and upland sites from 1970 onwards. During the first season moat ecotypes out-yielded white clover in flowering and aftermath cuts, material from Chile being outstanding in yield of dry matter. New Zealand cultivars, especially an induced tetraploid, showed considerable potential when compared with red clover in spacedclump and row experiments. Studies of herbage quality in the birdsfoot trefoils started in 1970 with an experiment comparing the two species with rod and white clovers. Birds-feet trefoil repented its promising performance shown in foreign trials but wild British material of march birdsfoot trefoil was lower in digestibility than the other leumes. A further experiment including the New Zealand oultivars, along with two selections from North Americas has boon sown out to study the effects of selection and polypioidy on this feature. Theme preliminary results suggest that species have potential value in the improvement of British natural grassland. Birdsfoot trefoil shows more promise on poor dry areas where its tolerance of drought conditions and self-seeding abilities place it at an advantage over white clover. Marsh birdsfoot trefoil is particularly suitable on the wet peat areas of upland pasture where white clover is not so productive; it can spread by rhioomes and by solf-seoding, and appears to be able to withstand close grazing, providing protein essential to improve the dot of livestock grazing on such pasture. Both trefoils mid be used in mosaic improvement of rough pasture whore their natural re-seeding capabilities could be exploited to best advantage.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: J S Hall
Keywords: Range management, Agricultural economics
Date of Award: 1972
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1972-73795
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56

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