Two generations of novel backcross hybrids between white clover (Trifolium repens L.) and the related species Trifolium ambiguum, with white clover as the recurrent parent, were analysed for forage quality characteristics. Water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) levels, nitrogen concentrations (%N), and dry matter digestibility (DMD) were recorded for the hybrids and parental species grown in deep soil bins with and without a companion grass. Half the experimental material was subjected to moisture stress by being left unwatered through the four-week period when measurements were made. Four such four -week cycles of drought were imposed. The first and second generation backcrosses had the highest values for WSC, but were lowest for N%. There was no difference between the different legume lines (parents and backcrosses) for DMD. No effects of either moisture stress or presence of a grass companion on quality traits were observed. The WSC and %N of the grass component differed significantly depending on which legume line it was grown with. The importance of these results for the potential use of these hybrids in agriculture is discussed.
- backcross, interspecific hybrids, quality, trifoliumambiguum, trifolium repens