Forage legumes for dryland agriculture in Central and West Asia and North Africa
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A. M. Abd El Moneim, John Ryan. (31/12/2004). Forage legumes for dryland agriculture in Central and West Asia and North Africa, in "Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture, Volume 32". United States of America: American Society of Agronomy.
The agriculture of the Mediterranean zone is dominated by rainfed cereal cultivation in conjunction with livestock raising. As legumes are indigenous to the region, they are alternated with cereals and provide an essential source of biological nitrogen (N) for the cereals. Food legumes such as Kabuli-type chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and lentil (Lens cult-naris Medik.) are basic foods for humans, while annual and perennial forage legumes pro-vide valuable animal feed as grazing and hay. Since its inception, research at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) has focused on the development of forage legumes in association with the national agricultural systems of the West Asia—North Africa region. While much effort has been expended on perennial self-regenerating medic (Medicago spp.), adoption was limited because of technical difficulties. The greatest potential was with annual vetch (Vicia spp.) as a viable animal feed source and a rotation crop with cereals. Emphasis was also placed on forage legumes that survive harsh conditions by their unique underground growth habit, for example, V amphicarpa and Lathyrus etiolate. Efforts to improve forage legumes were based on both management/cultural factors and breeding. The development of forage legumes is essential to agricultural sustainability in the Mediterranean region and in other areas of the world where grazing livestock area a dominant feature.
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