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Evaluation of yield potential and some agronomic traits variability in Mediterranean alfalfa cultivars in the field under Tunisian conditions

Keywords: Medicago sativa , yield , mediterranean basin , diversity.

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Sixteen alfalfa populations, originating from the Mediterranean basin, were investigated under field conditions in Tunisia.Thisresearch aimed to evaluate the adaptation of cultivars to oases conditions of North Africa. The diversity among ecotypes wasstudied for potential yield and using some agronomic characters. The fall harvest had given the lower fresh yield in allpopulations and the greatest was recorded in the harvest of spring season. In addition, fresh yields were significantly different (p< 0.001) among populations, except at spring harvest. No significant differentiation was observed between populations in drymatter of both summer and spring harvest. Five agronomic characters showed significant differences between populations(p<0.001). Weeds and snail presence were negatively influenced to biomass production. However, covering and dormancy werepositively related to biomass production and they can be used as early production indicators. Three groups were identified bycluster analysis independently of geographical origins


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