Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
This study aims to monitor the response of dryland lucerne sown in two different types of soils with different levels of plant available water.
What did the research involve?
The experiment involved two identical areas of land with two types of soil, the first site was a silt loam soil (“PAWC of about 325 mm to 2.3m”) and the second site was stony silt loam soil (“PAWC to 2.3m of about 125 mm”). The variety of dryland lucerne used in this study was “‘Stamina 5’ lucerne coated seed” and was sown in early spring. This study was conducted at Lincoln University, New Zealand.
What were the key findings?
The study revealed that plant available water content and environmental factors such as temperature are the two main contributors to plant development, growth rates and yield in dryland lucerne. The first site resulted in a higher leaf area index, showing that the reduced plant available water content at site two caused the reduced growth and leaf cover resulting in a lower ground cover and yield.
Higher dryland lucerne growth rates and yield can be achieved when sown in soils with higher water availability and less stone content. This enables the root growth to develop further into the soil so the plant development cannot be stalled by water stress and it can reach its full potential.