Effects of Shade and Rhizobium Inoculation on Herbage of Black and Button Medics

Sindy M. Interrante, James P. Muir, Randall E. Rosiere, Robert L. Rhykerd

Abstract


Shade tolerance and Rhizobium inoculation in annual, cool-season legumes may affect yield of both herbage and seed under arboreal canopies.  Naturalized black (Medicago lupulina L.) and button (M. orbicularis [L.] Bartal.) medics were grown under 0, 30, 55, and 80% shade with and without specific Rhizobium inoculation in a two-year field trial. Soil moisture was greatest under 55 and 80% shade and in Yr 1 prior to herbage harvest. Under more stable growing conditions (Yr 1) herbage yields decreased under 80% shade. Herbage yields were undifferentiated between species in Yr 1 but were greater for button medic in Yr 2. Black medic stems were longer in Yr 1 while button medic stems were longer in Yr 2. Seed number peaked for black medic in Yr 1 under 30 and 55% shade but was undifferentiated between species or shade levels in Yr 2. Herbage crude protein concentration was greatest in Yr 2 and at 55% shade for button medic. Acid detergent fiber and lignin concentrations of both species tended to increase as shade levels increased. Rhizobium inoculation had no consistent effects on parameters measured. Regression analyses provided no significant model statements. These medics appear tolerant of up to 30% shade and may not require commercial Rhizobium inoculation in field conditions where native Rhizobia are already present.

Keywords


cool season legumes; forage; quality

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