Materials used in this chapter were published in the book Biostimulant Albit for increasing yields and protection of agricultures against diseases, A.K. Zlotnikov, Ed. Prof. Ŕ. Melkumova. All-Russia Institute of Plant Protection, Russia, 2006.
Galega (Galega orientalis Lam) is very promising fodder crop. It is an herbaceous plant in the Faboideae subfamily, Galega genus. There are 8 species of Galega genus. It is native to the Middle East, but it has been naturalised in Europe, western Asia, and western Pakistan. The plant has been extensively cultivated as a forage crop, an ornamental, a bee plant and as green manure. Its name derives from gale (milk) and ega (to bring on), as Galega has been used as a galactologue in small domestic animals (hence the name "Goat's rue").
Fig. 45. Galega field treated with Albit (Vladimir oblast, 2004)
According to data of Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, the most efficient way of galega usage is 2-3 cuttings in budding stage or 2 cuttings in flowering stage; 1-2-year interchange of cutting and seed usage provides grass recovery and increases galega’s productive longevity. Galega provides the earliest (even earlier than winter rye) forage while clover and alfalfa just started their intensive growth. Prolonged vegetation, ability to be appropriate for cutting till very late autumn, good aftermath and tillering energy make this culture irreplaceable for green biomass harvesting. High productivity of galega is combined with high nutritional value: 100 kg of green biomass contains 20-21 feeding units, 100 kg of hay – 57-58 feeding units. Overground biomass of the plant contains 16-25% of protein. Provision of 1 feeding unit with raw protein is 175-216 g. High nutritional value of galega is provided due to high ratio between weight of leaves and total biomass weight (50-70%).
Problem of forage with high protein content is still actual in livestock farming. Traditional legume crops, such as alfalfa and clover tend to exhaust with the laps of time, and after 3-4 years their productivity gets considerably lower. Search for new inconvenient cultures must fill this gap. One of such cultures is galega, which can be used 10-15 years without thinning, since root offshoots provide proper stem density that forces out all other plant species, especially weeds.
In the last years, this crop has been extensively cultivated in countries of European Union, Asia and North America. Harvesting of high yields of galega is possible in broad geographical zone between 40 and 60 degrees of north latitude. Trials performed by All-Russia Institute of Vegetable Selection and Seed Breeding demonstrated that conditions in most of agricultural regions of Russia are favorable for galega cultivation: Non-black soil zone, Volga and Vyatka and Ural regions, West and East Siberia, Far East, Northern Caucasus.
Galega is able to grow in the same regions as clover and in many cases is able to compete with alfalfa. Introduction of Galega creates long-functional pastures supplying livestock farming with valuable forage.
Albit is the only pesticide officially registered for use on this promising culture in Russia (List of Pesticides, Allowed to Application in Russia, 2006). High effectiveness of Albit on galega vas demonstrated in trials carried out in Vladimir and Moscow oblast by All-Russia Institute of Vegetable Selection and Seed Breeding and Vladimir Regional Plant Protection Station. Trials were performed in 2001-2004 on galega var. Gornoaltayskiy-87. Treatment of galega with Albit is widespread among farms of Vladimir, Moscow, Tula and Lipetsk oblasts.
Application of Albit on galega increases:
Application recommendations. It is recommended to perform presowing seed treatment (50-70 ml/tonne) and foliar sprayings (40 ml/hectare) in the following years. Foliar sprayings (1-2 times per season) should be done in first half of vegetation, in stage of budding, preferably just after cutting for improvement of regrowth.
According to results of performed trials, treatment with Albit increased yield of galega green biomass averagely by 19.6 centners/hectare (21.7%). Also, it increased yield of seeds averagely by 0.4 centners/hectare (16.2%). Besides yield increase, Albit increased germination of galega seeds by 8-13%, height and density of stems, improved regrowth after cutting by 14.1-34%. The maximal relative effectiveness of Albit treatment was detected on aged (10-15 years old) fields (Data of Vladimir Regional Plant Protection Station, 2004).