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IMPROVEMENT OF FORAGE CROPS FOR SEMI-ARID AREAS

Objective



We need to obtain low input, more drought-resistant forage cultivars for semi-arid regions to improve the efficiency of grazing-based sheep production in these areas and prevent environmental damage as a result of soil erosion. Better knowledge of physiological atributes which determine drought resistance is needed to identify the most effective characteristics to be used as selection criteria. Proper management practices could also improve forage availability.
On these grounds the present project aim is to provide a wider scientific basis to identify operative selection criteria in Trifolium subterraneum (TS) Lupinus albus (LA) and Lolium rigidum (LR), well-adapted and widely used species in semi-arid regions, and a contrasted experience on the proper pasture management.
Four research groups will develop the project. Spanish, Portuguese and Italian groups will focus more attention set up field assays to evaluate the efficiency of physiological selection criteria, and to measure genetic variability of TS, LL and LR genotypes respectively. The British group will investigate the control of leaf growth in water-limited environments. Field determinations of genetic variability will be developed on three successive years in joint research experiments in which all four groups will be involved. Applied experimentation on pasture management effects on fodder availability, seed quality, self-reseeding and dry matter yield will also be held. The results of this project will improve the scientific basis for developing breeding programs to produce cultivars better adapted to drought-prone areas as well as a proper assessment on management practices for a sustainable grazing based sheep production.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT DE LES ILLES BALEARS
Address
Carretera De Valldemossa, Km. 7,5
07071 Palma De Mallorca
Spain

Participants (2)

Centro di Studi sul Miglioramento della Produttività dei Pascoli
Italy
Address
Via E. De Nicola
07100 Sassari
UNIVERSIDADE TECNICA DE LISBOA
Portugal
Address
Tapada Da Ajuda
1399 Lisboa