|dc.description.abstract||Lotus corniculatus L., birdsfoot trefoil (BFT), is a common flowering plant in the Fabaceae family, native to grasslands in temperate Eurasia and North Africa. BFT is a perennial herbaceous plant, similar in appearance to some clovers. The flowers are mostly visited by bumblebees and develop into small pea-like pods or legumes. BFT is often used as forage and is widely used as food for livestock due to its non-bloating properties. BFT can be used as a winter cover crop and help supply nitrogen to the soil the following season. A NIFA grant (No. 2013-67012-21408) was awarded to Auburn University to breed a BFT cultivar to extend the forage’s geographic adaptation across the United States.
BFT is a non-bloating, cool-season forage legume and has potential to improve sustainability of pasture systems in the Eastern Transition Zone of the U.S. This research addresses pre-breeding, germplasm enhancement, and cultivar development. It combines the expertise of a plant breeder with that of forage management researchers and Extension specialists. Our eventual goal is to develop a trans-regional BFT cultivar with disease resistance with a wide geographic adaptation that has a longer stand life than existing cultivars.
Selection for persistence began improving the longevity of a stand by selecting individuals that survived drought/heat conditions. Diseases such as Macrophomina phaseolina, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Meloidogyne incognita need to be considered in a BFT production system. Clethodim, sethoxydim, glyphosate, quizalofop p-ethyl, and imazethapyr demonstrated acceptable herbicidal injuries to BFT while 2,4-DB and imazapic indicated unacceptable injuries. Clethodim can be recommended in a BFT-grass mixture and imazethapyr may be recommended in a BFT-broadleaf mixture.||en_US