Establishment of perennial legume species in drought-prone, North and South Island sites


  • G.B. Douglas
  • B.J. Wills
  • H.N. Pryor
  • A.G. Foote
  • K.D. Trainor



The establishment from seed of 8 perennial legumes was investigated in 3 trials in drought-prone regions. Two trials, in central Hawke's Bay, aimed to determine the extent of establishment of 6 test species (Astragalus cicer, Coronilla varia, Dorycnium hirsutum, Dorycnium pentaphyllum, Lotus corniculatus, Lotus tenuis) and 2 standard species (Medicago sativa, Trifolium repens). The third trial, in Central Otago, aimed to identify the most effective strain of Rhizobium loti for nodulating D. hirsutum in the field. In Hawke's Bay, establishment of all species was satisfactory. Seedling emergence ranged from 0.2% (T. repens) to 25% (A. cicer, C. varia, D. hirsutum), but emergence levels for all species varied between trials. Herbage yields of A. cicer (4 t DM/ha), C. varia (3 t DM/ha) and L. tenuis (3.7 t DM/ha) were relatively high, and they could have potential as forages. Inoculation of seed of D. hirsutum with R. loti strain ICC211 resulted in 60% of seedlings being nodulated, compared with 25% where strain ICC224 was used. Foliage weights of all plants inoculated with strain ICC211 (154 mg) were higher than those inoculated with strain ICC224 (52 mg). Strain ICC211 is recommended for inoculating D. hirsutum. Keywords: dryland legumes, nodulation, plant establishment, revegetation







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