Does seed size affect alfalfa establishment and productivity in saline seedbeds?
Large, medium and small seeds of Rangelander alfalfa, were sown in saline media in Canada’s Salt Tolerance Testing Lab. The emergence and survival data indicate that large-size seeds confer a degree of salinity tolerance to their emerging and developing seedlings. The large seeds emerged in numbers 10 and 23 % greater than the plants from medium and small seeds grown in 18 and 24 dS m-1 solutions, respectively. The seed-size advantage, evident in plant heights just 14 days after seeding, persisted into forage harvests which also showed increased biomass yields at all salinity levels at the first harvest cut. Although the seed-size yield advantages diminished with successive harvests, higher yields persisted at the 12 and 18 dS m-1 salinity treatments for the crops planted with large seeds.
emergence, height, seed-size, salinity, tolerance, yield
Soils and Crops Workshop