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Desmodium rensonii

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Rensonii seed is hard and small, about 500,000/kilogram. Seed color varies from brown and yellowish-brown through green. Large shiny-brown seeds demonstrate the best germination and growth. Seed germinates quickly, in 3-4 days, without treatment (MBRLC undated, Roshetko 1995). Rensonii is often established by direct sowing in double hedgerow systems. Spacing between double rows is 50 cm. Depending on percent slope and companion crops, distance between hedgerows varies from 24 meters; in row spacing varies from 10 to 2.5 cm. A pinch of seed between the thumb and one finger is sufficient to establish one meter of hedgerow with an in row spacing of 2.5 cm. Close spacing promotes leafy biomass production (for fodder or green manure) and soil erosion control, while still yielding good quantities of seed. It is necessary to coordinate pruning of hedgerows with the plant's biological seed production cycle, or preserve unpruned areas of the hedgerow especially for seed production.

Establishment of a seed orchard is recommended for maximum seed production. Trees are planted at a 2x2 m spacing by sowing 2-3 seed per position. After two weeks thin seedlings to one per position. Initial growth may be slow. As germinants and small seedlings, Desmodium species are particularly sensitive to weed competition (Roshetko et al. 1993). It is important to practice thorough weed control until trees are well established. Once established, rensonii will dominate most weed vegetation.

Seven months after establishment plants will produce seed, however quantity and quality of this first crop are low. Plants will be in full seed production by the second year. Seed yields will increase as the plants become larger. Seed is mature when pods turn brown. Green pods produce inferior seed. Pods should be harvested when 80% are brown. Harvest by hand stripping brown pods from branches. Use the least force necessary to remove mature pods. Green pods should remain on the branch to mature for subsequent harvest. Hand harvesting allows four seed crops per year. Harvesting pods with a knife by removing foliage or branches reduces subsequent seed crops.

After harvest, sun dry pods for 2-3 days. To extract seed, pound pods with a mortar and pestle and separate debris by winnowing. Sun dry clean seeds for another 2-3 days or until moisture content is 10-12% (MBRLC undated). Clean seed can be stored -for-two years in air-tight containers. To guard against insect and fungal attack treat 3 kilograms of seed with 1 teaspoon of Sevin insecticide and 1 teaspoon of Captan fungicide (MBRLC undated). Seed should be stored in a cool dry place removed from direct light. On a fertile site, a well-maintained ten-meter double hedgerow can produce 3.5 kilograms of seed per year

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Peternakan dan Herbal Updated at: 22:56
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