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Pre-sowing Treatment of Alfalfa Seeds with Bio-Extracts for Early Spring Growth Performance

Pre-sowing Treatment of Alfalfa Seeds with Bio-Extracts for Early Spring Growth Performance

Bushra Qadir1, Muhammad Asim2 and Mohammad Akmal1* 

1Department of Agronomy, the University of Agriculture Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan; 2Agric. Research System, Govt. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.  


Pakistan faces an acute deficiency of forages for livestock both in terms of dry matter (DM) and total digestible nutrient (TDN). Green forage availability fluctuates in months of the year due to prevailing climate. Alfalfa, with higher potential, can be adjusted in the cropping system for supplying green forage around the year. Nonetheless, its initial growth for stand establishment is a major issue. Treatments of the experiments were four alfalfa varieties (i.e. UCD, Dura, Vernal and Cuf 101) whose seed were treated with overnight in bio-extracts solution made of perennial tree leaves. The study compares early growth performance of alfalfa varieties for forage biomass production. The seed was soaked overnight (14 h) in extracts made from dry powdered leaves of Bakayn (Azadir achtaindica), Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) and water (H2O) and planted in pots on the next morning. The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design at the University of Agriculture Peshawar during winter 2013-14. Periodic growth sampling was taken by harvesting three pots of treatments starting in early spring and thereafter during tHEgrowth to the maximum five samplings to study roots and shoot growth. Averaged across varieties and extracts, results revealed that plant length (roots with shoot) was significantly (p<0.05) changed with a minimum at the thermal unit (TU) 677 to a maximum at TU 3257. Averaged across TU and extracts, the variety Cuf-101 showed the maximum plant length, root length and shoot length. Averaged across TU and varieties, seeds treated with extracts of Bakayn showed higher length than Ber extract and water (control) treatment. Plant length was significantly affected by the interactive effects of treatments (variety x extracts and TU). Similarly, averaged across varieties x extracts, branch number per plant were also found significant (p<0.05) which increased at TU from 677 to 1939 slow and 2532 to 3257 at higher rate. Highest branch number was observed for variety Cuf-101. Root volume also increased at TU 2532 and 3257 with maximum for TU 3257. Cuf-101 and Dura varieties were high in ratio of shoot to root (RSR) when compared with variety Vernal and/or UCD. Ratio of root length to root volume (RRLV) was high at TU 1428 and low at TU 677. Variety UCD and Dura, as well as Vernal and Cuf-101 showed similar RRLV. The study suggested that Cuf-101 was relatively better variety for stand establishment in Peshawar’s climate. Nonetheless, seed treated with extracts was not as effective as expected focusing growth and development in early spring for alfalfa. 


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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture


Vol. 35, Iss. 4, Pages 1020-1356


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