Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tropical legume could be alternative hay/forage crop for Texas

07.05.2004


Lablab, a drought-tolerant, summer annual legume native to the tropics, could be a valuable addition to the Texas forage repertoire, according to a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station scientist.


This lablab seed was produced in Texas rather than imported
Credit: Texas A & M University



"An accelerated lablab breeding and evaluation program will start for this summer to provide improved cultivars for both livestock and wildlife management systems in Texas," said Dr. Ray Smith, Experiment Station legume breeder based at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton.

Forage scientists have had lablab on their radar screens for some time. The tropical legume forage can be grazed, cut as hay or grown in mixtures with corn or sorghum and harvested as silage. It can produce nearly 2 tons of dry forage per acre in 100 days with leaf protein content as high as 25 percent. It’s not known how much lablab is grown in the United States, but most seed is currently imported from Australia.


"Lablab has about the same forage production and nutritive value potential as Iron and Clay cowpeas," Smith said. "Compared to bermudagrass, it’s generally going be higher in protein."

But while cattle don’t like cowpeas, they find lablab forage highly palatable. White-tailed deer, which can be picky eaters, will also browse lablab, making it a good, low-management crop for supplemental feed in wildlife plots.

It can be grown in various environments throughout the Southeastern United States and thrive on as little as 10 to 15 inches of rainfall during the growing season. And as do all legumes, lablab can fix nitrogen from the air where forage grasses need supplemental nitrogen. The price of nitrogen fertilizers, tied to the costs of oil and natural gas, is rising. So an alternative high-protein forage legume such as lablab could make sense both economically and environmentally, Smith said.

More importantly, there’s also the possibility of it becoming a value-added seed crop for the region’s farmers, according to Smith. "These characteristics and our experiments with palatability indicated a need to develop new cultivars of lablab that could better tolerate Texas heat and drought," said Smith, who developed Apache, an arrowleaf clover resistant to bean yellow mosaic virus.

Smith, working with Dr. Monte Rouquette, Experiment Station forage physiologist also based at the Overton center, evaluated 42 breeding lines of lablab for regrowth after grazing, relative maturity and seed production potential.

"All entries had excellent regrowth following grazing, but we noted wide differences in time of flowering," Smith said. Flowering time varied from late summer to late fall. In much of Texas, the late-fall flowering varieties would probably mature too late to produce viable seed, he said.

Smith selected the most promising lines and grew them for seed in a greenhouse. From the greenhouse trials, he identified three elite selections for further seed increase.

The three were planted at Vernon in mid-June 2003.

"We planted in Vernon because it is a drier climate. We’re interested in finding an alternative seed crop for Texas growers, and drier, less humid climates are more conducive to producing a higher-quality, disease-free seed crop," Smith explained. Two of the three lines had excellent seed production, and Smith plans to continue evaluating both this year, but he cautions that developing a new variety takes some time.

"It will take three to five years of research to develop a new variety of lablab that will be a useful forage and seed crop," Smith said.


Writer: Robert Burns (903) 834-6191, rd-burns@tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Ray Smith (903) 834-6191, g-smith@tamu.edu

Robert Burns | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://agnews.tamu.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>