Submitted to: Minnesota Academy of Science Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2003
Publication Date: 4/25/2003
Citation: JARADAT, A.A., JOHNSON, J.M., VANKEMPEN, S.J., BARBOUR, N.W. ANNUAL MEDICS (MEDICAGO SPP.) CAN HELP DEVELOP SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN THE UPPER MIDWEST. CD-ROM. ST. PAUL, MN: MINNESOTA ACADEMY OF SCIENCE. 2003. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Recent interest in sustainable cropping systems has renewed interest in legumes as forage, cover, nitrogen-fixing, weed smothering, living mulch crops, and to reduce soil erosion. Annual medics, Medicago spp. closely related to perennial alfalfa, grow rapidly, produce large amounts of biomass with many pods, supply nitrogen through nitrogen-fixing bacteria, adapt to a wide range of soil types, and produce hard seeds that remain viable in the soil. Medics have potential uses in sustainable agriculture systems; however, additional research is needed to clearly define their niche, especially in the upper Midwest. A large (>500 accessions) germplasm collection was assembled from international sources and is being screened, characterized and evaluated for adaptation, growth rate, biomass production and carbon sequestration capability under the short-growing season of the upper Midwest. The objectives of this study are to identify adapted accessions with the maximum combination of: 1) rapid growth rate, high nitrogen fixation rate in symbiosis with the soil bacterium Sinorhizobium, and large biomass production, 2) adequate levels of Phytophthora root rot resistance required under cool, wet soils, 3) dual utilization as forage or hay, 4) shade tolerance as companion crops, and 5) high below-ground carbon storage capacity.