Uses of Australian Medic and other Legumes in the United States

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Uses of Australian Medic and other Legumes in the United States

In recent years the United States has been experimenting with the uses of medics, clovers and other forms of legumes which include sweet clover, rose clover, crimson clover, barrel medic, button medic, Australian medic, burr medic, nitro alfalfa, and spotted medic just to name a few of the long list of plants used in these experiments. The purpose of these experiments were to determine the benefits of intercropping these legumes with non-nitrogen fixating crops such as corn, sunflowers and many others. Some of the suggested benefits would include using less fertilizer, gained water infiltration into the soil, and reduced soil erosion.

A study was conducted in
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Forage nutritional value and seed production where likewise affected by the climate. However even though the species would produce less seeds it is not yet known to what level of reproduction could drop before the stands would not come back in following years (Muir et al., 2005).

The conclusion of the Stephenville experiments found that even with harvesting at a lower crop height reduced the amount of seeds and seedlings produced it did not seem to affect the following years as far as stand growth and reproduction. Likewise higher seedling and seed yields did not in turn produce a higher yielding stand in the following years. Even though the forage legumes tolerated herbage removal with little negative affect more studies need to be done to conclude how much removal or grazing will be tolerated by these species. Prolonged low-temperatures reaching down to -12°C during a 7 day period in March 2002 caused severe damage to all medic seedlings in year three and affected spring forage yields. Crimson clover was identified as the first frost tolerant compared with other medic species. Forage nutrient values were negatively affected when the plants were allowed to grow throughout the growing season without herbage removal (Muir et al., 2005).

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