Selecting forages

You may remember a longish post sometime back describing a piece of software called LUCID which can be used to prepare multi-access keys for the identification of species or varieties. Well, I’ve recently come across a slightly different use to which LUCID can be put. Normally you would enter into the software what each species looks like — the length of their petioles, colour of their flowers, shape of their pistils. What if, instead, you put in how each species performs under different conditions — of altitude, precipitation, soil pH, salinity, management etc.? What you would end up with is a tool for selecting which species would do well under specified combinations of conditions, or for specific purposes. And that’s exactly what a consortium of organizations interested in forages for the tropics has done. There are also factsheets on each of several dozen tropical forage grasses and legumes, including photographs and maps of suitable geographic areas.

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