Correcting zinc deficiency in pasture crops
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CTA. 1994. Correcting zinc deficiency in pasture crops. Spore 51. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49396
For some years scientists at the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) have been growing forage crops as part of the cereal-based crop rotation, instead of leaving ground fallow. The forage crops serve the dual...
For some years scientists at the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) have been growing forage crops as part of the cereal-based crop rotation, instead of leaving ground fallow. The forage crops serve the dual purpose of fertilizing the soil and providing animal feed. Australian farmers were the first to commercialize a group of plants which are known as medics. These are leguminous plants and are closely related to alfalfa. Since the mid-1980s, ICARDA has been actively promoting the use of medics in place of fallow within the cereal-based crop rotations of the Mediterranean region. It appears that some species of medics are more sensitive to zinc deficiency in the soil than others. Zinc is a minor nutrient and its limiting effect is only seen when there are sufficient quantities of the major nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. Zinc deficiency not only affects the plants themselves but also the livestock that eat them. Insufficient zinc in livestock diet leads to weight loss, slow growth, anorexia and reproductive problems. Research has shown that as long as there is sufficient nitrogen and phosphorous available, the addition of 5 milligrams of zinc per kilogram of soil enables medic plants to produce significantly more green matter. Current research aims to discover whether less sensitive species of medic are more efficient at extracting zinc from the soil or whether they require less zinc. Guy Manners Communication, Documentation and Information Services ICARDA PO Box 5466 Aleppo, SYRIA