Productivity and Persistence of Yellow Serradela (Ornithopus compressus L.) and Biserrula (Biserrula pelecinus L.) in the Mediterranean Climate Region of Central Chile

Alejandro del Pozo1* and Carlos Ovalle2
The production and sustainability of non-irrigated pastures in the Mediterranean climate region of central Chile is currently limited by the low diversity of valuable species and cultivars of annual forage legumes, able to persist in zones with highly variable annual rainfall, and low fertility or poorly drained soils. In this work, DM production, seed yield, hardseededness and pasture persistence were evaluated for cultivars of yellow serradella (Ornithopus compressus L.) and biserrula (Biserrula pelecinus L.), in field experiments conducted in the subhumid portion of the Mediterranean climate region of Chile. Burr medic (Medicago polymorpha L.) and sub clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) were used as a reference plants. A remarkable DM production and seed yield were observed in biserrula (cvs. Mor96 and Casbah), and in some cultivars of yellow serradella (e.g. Madeira, Santorini); biserrula produced by far the largest number of seeds per m2. As was expected for species that produce very high levels of hard-seeds, the regeneration of biserrula and serradella was low in second growing season, but plant density and productivity were high in the third growing season. The use of biserrula and serradela in monoculture or in mixture with other annual legumes, either in pasture-crop rotation or permanent pasture, would contribute to the improvement of the prevailing productive systems in the Mediterranean climate region of central Chile.
Keywords: annual legumes, hard-seed, espinal, plant density, seed yield.
1 Universidad de Talca, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Casilla 747, Talca, Chile. *Corresponding author (adelpozo@utalca.cl)
2 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias INIA, Centro Regional de Investigación Quilamapu, Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile.