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Tree lucerne or tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus spp palmensis) , a legume fodder tree with potential for agrosilvopastoral systems in mediterranean Chile

Carlos Ovalle M.1, James Aronson2 , Homero Alvarez M.3 y Julia Avendaño R4

Improvement of animal production systems in mediterranean climate regions is limitad by low availability and poor nutritional value of pastura resources in late summer and autumn. In a program of introduction and seleetion of perennial fodder trees and nitrogen-fixing plants, ultimately aimed at the long-term improvement of silvopastoral and agrosilvopastoral systems in the mediterranean-climate region of Chile, one of the best candidates found thus far is alfalfa arbórea or tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus spp palmensis), a shrub or small tree originated in La Palma, Canary Islands. Tagasaste has been successfully incorporated in animal production systems in parts of Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Small introduction plots haya been established al eight sites in central Chile, where its potential value in dryland farming systems seems quite high. Tagasaste grew well in the per-humid and humid zone reaching 88 to 100% of survival rate, and height growth between 1 to 1.8 m. In the arid zone, there are increasing limitations to achieve a high plant survival rate in the first summer. In this review, we discuss perspectives for aclimatization and use of Tagasaste in Chile, along with important aspeets of its nutritive and agronomic value and its utilization by animals.

Key words: tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus spp palmensís), tree lucerne, fodder trees and shrubs, dryland farming.

1 Estación Experimental Quilamapu (INlA), Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile.
2 Centre L. Emberger, C.N.R.S., B.P. 5051, 34033 Monipellier, Francia.
3 Fundo Tierras Blancas, Correo Catapilco, V Región, Chile.
4 Subestación Experimental Cauquenes (INIA), Casilla 165, Cauquenes, Chile.

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