The Sustainable Forages Podcast is a series of informative and engaging conversations about sustainable forage production and management practices. Each episode features experts and innovators in the field discussing a range of topics, including soil health, grazing management, and the latest research on forage crops. Whether you’re a farmer, rancher, or just interested in sustainable agriculture, this podcast is a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn more about the importance of forages in a sustainable food system.
The AFIN Board of Directors has decided to run a series of science-related webinars for the benefit of producers and other interested parties.
This episode features Malinda Thilakarathna, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta
Drought stress poses a significant challenge to forage production, making it crucial to better understand how forage plants respond to this stress. Forage legumes engage in beneficial partnerships with specialized soil rhizobia bacteria, residing in root nodules and aiding in atmospheric nitrogen fixation. However, legumes are vulnerable to drought stress, impacting
nodulation and symbiotic nitrogen fixation. In our study, we assessed the effects of drought stress on nodulation, plant growth, physiological parameters, nitrogen fixation, soil nitrogen levels, and soil microbial diversity in alfalfa and red clover using a greenhouse pot experiment.
Drought treatments, simulating severe, moderate, and well-watered conditions, were applied during the flowering stage. The results showed significant reductions in nodulation, root and shoot growth, and nitrogen fixation under drought conditions, particularly in severe drought.
Interestingly, severe drought led to increased soil available nitrogen, and the soil microbial community exhibited changes in the abundance of key bacterial groups. Overall results indicate that drought has deleterious effects on nitrogen fixation and plant growth, affecting soil nitrogen availability and soil microbial diversity.
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