about trefoils in Agricultural Research.
New Trefoils Ready for Forage
By Kathryn Barry
April 5, 2000
Livestock and wildlife should someday
benefit from improved forages, thanks to two new lines of narrowleaf and big
trefoil plants released by Agricultural
Research Service scientists.
Unlike alfalfa, trefoil doesnt cause bloating in animals. Between the
two types of trefoil, many harsh growing conditions such as dry, saline or
flooded soils can be tolerated. Because trefoils are legumes, they fix nitrogen
into the soil for later use by grasses and forbs. This can reduce the need for
ARS agronomist Jeffrey Steiner and geneticist Paul Beuselinck developed the
new trefoils to help breeders improve forage quality on pastureland. Birdsfoot
trefoil, a related species, has become popular during the past few decades, but
big trefoil and narrowleaf trefoil have not been readily available.
Both of the new releases--ARS-1207 narrowleaf trefoil and ARS-1221 big
trefoil--combine the characteristics of dozens of different genetic populations
collected from around the world. That way, breeders can use them to evaluate
all available characteristics for each species without individually testing
dozens of different plants.
Researchers and breeders can obtain small amounts of seed from Steiner.
An article describing this work appears in the April issue of Agricultural Research, ARS'
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contacts: Jeffrey Steiner,
ARS Forage Seed and Cereal
Research Unit, Corvallis, Ore., phone (541) 750-8734, fax (541) 750-8750,
Research Unit, Columbia, Mo., phone (573) 882-6406, fax (573) 882-1467,