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Perennial legumes native to Australia: a preliminary investigation of nutritive value and response to cutting

Robinson, K., Bell, A. L. W., Bennett, R. G., Henry, D. A., Tibbett, M. and Ryan, M. H. (2007) Perennial legumes native to Australia: a preliminary investigation of nutritive value and response to cutting. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 47 (2). pp. 170-176. ISSN 0816-1089

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1071/EA06043

Abstract/Summary

Six Australian native herbaceous perennial legumes (Lotus australis, Swainsona colutoides, Swainsona swainsonioides, Cullen tenax, Glycine tabacina and Kennedia prorepens) were assessed in the glasshouse for nutritive value, soluble condensed tannins and production of herbage in response to three cutting treatments (regrowth harvested every 4 and 6 weeks and plants left uncut for 12 weeks). The Mediterranean perennial legumes Medicago sativa and Lotus corniculatus were also included. Dry matter (DM) yield of some native legumes was comparable to L. corniculatus, but M. sativa produced more DM than all species except S. swainsonioides after 12 weeks of regrowth. Dry matter yield of all native legumes decreased with increased cutting frequency, indicating a susceptibility to frequent defoliation. Shoot in vitro dry matter digestibility (DMD) was high (>70%) in most native legumes, except G. tabacina (65%) and K. prorepens (55%). Crude protein ranged from 21-28% for all legumes except K. prorepens (12%). More frequent cutting resulted in higher DMD and crude protein in all species, except for the DMD of C. tenax and L. australis, which did not change. Concentrations of soluble condensed tannins were 2-9 g/kg DM in the Lotus spp., 10-18 g/kg DM in K. prorepens and negligible (<1 g/kg) in the other legumes. Of the native species, C. tenax, S. swainsonioides and L. australis showed the most promise for use as forage plants and further evaluation under field conditions is now warranted.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:45377
Publisher:CSIRO Publishing

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