ROLE AND POTENTIAL OF ANNUAL PASTURE LEGUMES IN MEDITERRANEAN FARMING SYSTEMS

C. Porqueddu, F. González
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Resumen


This paper reviews the current use of self-regenerating pasture legumes in the farming systems of southern Europe. Annual legumes are mainly the base for the improvement of low quality native pastures in extensive farming systems. Traditional pasture legumes such as subterranean clovers and annual medics are the base plants of Mediterranean pastures, and are essential for pasture improvement of semiarid zones. The role of a recent second generation of annual pasture legumes is discussed. Some key agronomic aspects and the level of forage production and forage quality are considered. The constraints related to the low persistence of introduced materials and sward management are examined. The potential of using pasture legumes in simple and complex legume-legume or grass-legume mixtures is analysed. The implication of legume-rhizobia symbiosis is also briefly touched upon. Finally the alternative uses of annual self-reseeding legumes are listed.

Keywords: Legume pastures, pasture legume biodiversity, grass-legume mixtures, pasture legume-based management, alternative uses.


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