Yield and water-use efficiency of contrasting lucerne genotypes grown in a cool temperate environment

Pembleton, K. G. and Rawnsley, R. P. and Donaghy, D. J. (2011) Yield and water-use efficiency of contrasting lucerne genotypes grown in a cool temperate environment. Crop and Pasture Science, 62 (7). pp. 610-623. ISSN 1836-0947


In Tasmania, Australia, forage production is maximised by the use of irrigation. However, availability of water for irrigation is often limited, making the water-use efficiency (WUE) of a species/genotype an important consideration when designing forage systems. Field experimentation and an associated modelling study was undertaken to determine the WUE and environmental factors influencing WUE for contrasting lucerne (Medicago sativa) genotypes across six dairying regions within Tasmania. In the field experiment a significant genotype influence on WUE was identified under irrigated conditions and modelling identified a genotype influence on WUE in three out of six regions. WUE was related to the amount of water received (irrigation plus rainfall). The marginal response to the application of irrigation water (MWUE) was greatest for the highly winter-active genotype in the field experiment; however, modelling did not identify a consistent genotype influence on MWUE across regions. MWUE was negatively associated with the amount of deep drainage. The present study identified that lucerne has the potential to improve the WUE of forage systems across six different Tasmanian regions. The linkage of MWUE and deep drainage highlights that deficit irrigation practices could further improve the WUE of this forage crop, particularly in environments prone to deep drainage.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 03:50
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2018 05:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: alfalfa, forage legumes, biophysical modelling, APSIM
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070399 Crop and Pasture Production not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/CP11094
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/29569

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