Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Clover Could Spell Good Luck for Livestock Producers

03.03.2005


It’s common knowledge that the high price of crude oil has driven up fertilizer prices. But studies here have shown cattle can gain 3 pounds per day grazing spring pastures of a new disease-tolerant clover.



"That’s with no added nitrogen, as you’d have to do with ryegrass pastures," said Dr. Ray Smith, legume breeder with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Commercial nitrogen fertilizer costs have increased to 40 cents per pound from about 35 cents a pound last year. Natural gas is used in nitrogen fertilizer production, and natural gas price is linked to other fuel costs, including crude oil, Smith said.


Luckily for farmers and ranchers, Smith has developed Apache, an arrowleaf clover that is tolerant to bean yellow mosaic virus, has great seedling vigor, gives early forage production, a long grazing season, and offers high nutritive value, he said. "This new clover is tolerant to the bean yellow mosaic virus that has plagued arrowleaf for the last 20 years," said Smith, who is based at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton.

Smith would say that science had more to do with the development of the clover than luck, however.

Older arrowleaf clovers varieties such as Yuchi, Meeche and Amclo, are affected by bean yellow mosaic virus in several ways. Some plants are killed outright by lethal wilt. Others go on to survive but suffer a variety of symptoms, including misshapen leaves, yellowed leaves or leaves spotted in a yellow mosaic pattern. Of the surviving plants, yields are reduced by as much as 50 percent. But worse, the productive lifespan of the survivors is shortened and that leaves months during the spring without forage production, Smith said.

Ryegrass is one way to fill the production gap, but unlike clovers, it needs supplemental nitrogen to be highly productive.

Smith began work on arrowleaf clover disease resistance in the late 1980s. He started with the conventional method of growing arrowleaf cultivars in the field and selecting those plants that appeared healthy while rejecting those that were prone to disease infection.

"This conventional breeding method just wasn’t working," Smith said.

Why? Because, he said, the bean yellow mosaic is spread by aphids, and the insect’s haphazard habits meant that some plants would become infected while those nearby might not. "So we were selecting those plants that both had tolerance to bean yellow mosaic virus and those which just happened to dodge the bullet, so to speak," Smith said.

With this realization, Smith moved to greenhouse trials where he could control the spread of virus. He inoculated plants by hand with a slurry of tissue from infected plants. At the same time, he continued field trials, but mechanically inoculated those plants with the virus as well.

After years of crossing plants from both the greenhouse and field selections, Smith released the result, Apache clover, in 2001. Seed production made the new clover available to farmers in 2002.

Dr. Monte Rouquette, another forage scientist also based at the Overton center, did a grazing study with Apache that lasted from early March 2003 to the first of June 2003. The test showed calves’ average daily gains ranged from 1.7 to 3.5 pounds, depending upon the stocking rate.

For consistency between studies, forage scientists typically use poundage to define stocking rates instead of head counts. In the study, one animal unit was defined as 1,000 pounds of animal per acre. Low-, medium- and high-stocking rates were defined as 1.2, 2.0 and 2.8 animal units, respectively.

As might be expected, the low stocking rates showed the highest rate of daily gain, 3.5 pounds per day. And the highest stocking rate of 2,800 pounds of animal per acre showed the lowest daily gain. But the medium stocking rate of 2,000 pounds of animal per acre resulted in nearly 3 pounds gain per acre per day. To put stocking rate in perspective, figure the average beef cow will weigh in about 1,200 pounds, her calf 300 pounds and young stocker animal 600.

As early as the 1960s, common practice was to mix arrowleaf seed with crimson clover seed and grow it throughout many southern states, from East Texas to Georgia. By mixing the early-maturing crimson clover and late-maturing arrowleaf, ranchers and farmers could have forage from February through early June.

Multiple disease problems, including plant viruses and fungal disease, effectively put a stop to this practice more than a decade ago. Of the diseases, bean yellow mosaic virus was the most prevalent and damaging.

Bean yellow mosaic virus didn’t affect crimson clover, but it killed arrowleaf clover, stunted it, or caused it to mature early.

"It left a production gap from when the crimson matured to when warm season grasses came on in June that was not filled until the release of Apache," Smith said.

Robert Burns | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

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....

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

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>