Sie sind auf Seite 1von 20

THE FORAGE RESOURCES OF GREECE*

ATH. PANOS

Director, Experimental Station of Forage and Vegetable Breeding, Cfreek Ministry of


Agriculture, Lariam, Greece
TNTBODDCTORY NOTE
By R. O. WHYTE

This article is being published as the result of correspondence between Dr. Norman Wright of
the Ministry of Food, London, Professor A. A. Johnson of the Department of Plant Breeding at
Cornell University, and myself, which arose because of a mutual interest in the improvement of Balkan
and Middle East agriculture. It represents a report of pioneer work in the field of forage crop production which ha.s been carried on by Dr. Panos at the Exeprimental Station at Larissa from 1933 to
the present time.
Apart from the subdivision of Greece into four climatic and crop zones (see Fig. 1), and the report of the yields and behaviour of a number of forage plants tested, perhaps the greatest interest
attaches to the report of the rotation experiments which have been conducted for 10 years. Having
had an opportunity of seeing the research plots for himself. Professor Johnson states that he was
particularly impressed by these experimental rotations, and believes that this aspect is an "important
key" to the improvement of the Greek agricultural economy. Application of the results obtained by
Dr. Panos would make it possible to increase wheat production by 20 to 30 per cent on the plains,
using the same acreage in wheat but introducing legumes in the rotation in place of fallow and other
cereals. In addition to the increase in wheat production due to the fertility provided by legumes,
these same legumes would be a source of badly needed high-protein feed for the stock and food for
humans. An upgraded diet, higher standard of living and improved cropping practices would go hand
in hajid. Such improvements can be made within existing resources, that is, without the extension
of irrigation or mechanization. The better varieties to be produced by the plant breeders and crop
testers and reproduced in the seed programme would be much less limited in their opportunity to
express their superior yielding capacity.
In supporting in general Professor Johnson's statements concerning the desirability of soil-improving rotations in the cereal-producing economy ofGreece, I would like to point out the importance of the
method in which the legume is used or harvested. Results in Cyprus and Palestine seem to indicate
that there is a marked difference in after-effect on the yield of subsequent crops depending upon
whether the legume or the legume/grass or legume/cereal mixture is harvested for gram or hay,
ploughed under for green mantire, or grazed by live stock in situ. In particular, the grazing of arable
forage crops, possibly by the use of an electric fence, facilitates the return of stock nitrogen to the land,
increases the organic matter content, and also relieves the pressure of the grazing animals on the
almost invariably overgrazed natural vegetation. It is to be hoped that the research workers in
Greece and other less advanced countries will in their experiments explore the applicability of some
form of alternate husbandry as a development of their existing farming systems based on a cerealgrowing economy.

In the axt of using her agricultural land, Greece is still at the grain production stage,
since more than half of her cultivated land is used annually for the production of cereal
Original translation prepared by Miss Regina O. Hughes.

DIMTTBIUS ATH. PANOS

grains, especially of winter oereals. Agricultural statistics for the year 1938 show that
the- area of cultivated land rose to 2,409,662 hectares out of a total land area in Greece
of 12,988,000 hectares, aji indication of the mountainous relief of the country. Of this
entire cultivated area, cereals occupied 1,606,654 hectares or 66.67 per cent, made up as
follows (in percentage): wheat 35.76, maize 11.62, barley 8.11, oats 6.68, rye 2.62, wheat/
barley mixed 2.5, rice 0.16, millet 0.16, other cereals 0.08. Certain provinces devote themselves almost exclusively to the production of cereals ; for example the percentages in
relation to total cultivated land are as follows : Thessaly 70.99, Macedonia 75.29, Thrace
76.83, Epiru8 79.04 and Thresprotie 91.23. In contrast, all kinds of legumes such as the
grain legumes (broad beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, vetches including Vicia
ervilia) occupied 5.51 per cent of the total cultivated area. The total forage crops also
occupied, in 1938, 6.61 per cent of which 2.29 per cent were hay cereals, 2.61 natural
meadows cut for hay, and 0.61 per cent lucerne.
These figures show that there is a lack of proper balance between the crop plants
which enrich and deplete the soil respectively, as is manifested by :
(a) a gradual fall in soil productivity because of lack of oi^anic matter,
(b) a reduction in jdeld of cereals and other crops, annual and perennial, and
(c) a reduction in animal husbandry due to scarcity of forage, which shows a progressive decrease, thus influencing numbers and return from live stock.
Because of the absence of any fixed relationship between crop and animal husbandry,
the agricultTiral revenue is small and insufficient, agriculture unstable, and living standards
miserably low. Table 1 gives some population and area figures in comparison with other
countries.
Country

Greece, 1938
Bulgaria . .
Jugoslavia 1934 . .
Boumania. .
Tiu-key
Belgium . .
France
Germany . .
Denmark
Switzerland
Spain
Italy
Great Britain
Norway
Hungary . .
Russia
Sweden . .

Total area
in
hectares
thous.
12988
10316
24764
29605
76274
3061
56099
47017
4293
4129
60672
31008
24100
30869
9307
2206871
41024

Population
thous.
7109
6171
14950
19196
16250
8300
41940
66456
3709
4163
24849
42300
46992
2882
8944
173000
6260

Per cent total


area under
cultivation
22.2
40.2
63.6
62.0

66.6
63.3
61.2
71.8
63.2
38.9
66.2
81.2
33.2
81.1
28.8
11.8

Productive area
per inhabitant
per hectare
0.41
0.67
0.88
0.96

0.20
0.83
0.43
0.84
0.62
0.79
0.48
0.42
0.49
0.84
0.37
0.77

TABLE 1. Total area, population, percentage of area under cultivation, and production
area per inhabitant in Greece compared with other countries.

THE FOKAGE RESOURCES OF GREECE

To meet the demand for food, the Greek peasants have everywhere increased the
percentage of cereals, especially wheat, so that in many places the predominant rotation
of wheat/cereal/fallow (for grazing) has degenerated into the monocultural rotation of
wheat/wheat/cereal. Thus the worst possible conditioiis have been created for the accumiilation of moisture and organic matter in the soil, and the provision of fodder for
grazing animals.
For these reasons the average yields of cereals, especially during the 5-year period
1934-8, were mediocre, although only one of these years had a dry spring and a hot
summer, while the others had favourable conditions of rather mild winters, cool and rainy
springs and temperate summers. In spite of the spread of improved varieties from the
Institute for Plant Improvement at Salonika, the average yields of various crops during
the period in question were (in lb. per acre): wheat 894, maslin (wheat/barley mixture)
690, rye 826, oats 820, barley 952 and maize 958.
Because of lack of fodder, working animals are unable to carry out satisfactorily the
work of cultivation, and producing animals often show serious falls in yields in cold or dry
years because of the coniflict of interest between the cultivators and the nomadic herders
concerning the utilization of the fallow lands which have been the basis for maintaining
the flocks during winter.
Since we are now in Greece in the intermediate stage between cultural epochs
which demand adequate preparatory work to facilitate the change, we are seriously in
need of experimental data which will contribute to the very essential improvement in
the disastrous economy of the Greek peasant. Work commenced at Larissa in March
1933 and continued uninterrupted for 15 years now provides data on the fodder and grazing crops which may be cultivated on the arable land in order to introduce a soil-improving
crop into the rotation. It will first be necessary to quote some ecological information
concerning the climatic and crop zones of Greece before dealing in particular with the
soils and results of trials at Larissa.
Greece is situated between lat. 3455'N. and 4138'N. and between long. 1937'E.
and 276'E. Climatically the country can be divided into two regions. South Greece,
lying to the south of lat. 39N. where the temperate Mediterranean climate prevails, and
North Greece which has a more continental climate with an annual mean temperature
exceeding 20C. as in ThessaJy, Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus. The rainfall region
follows, in general, the Mediterranean pattern, annual precipitation being limited to the
autumn, winter and spring with a maximum in the winter. Summer, the period of
greatest heat, is consequently a drought period. The summer drought lasts approximately four months, from mid-May to mid-September. There is an exception to these
general conditions in the interior of northern Greece and of the Balkans in general, where
the climate is more continental and the annual rainfall, which is not great, is more evenly
distributed throughout the year, the minimum being during the months of July and
August. Thus in general, of the annual precipitation of Greece some 70-90 per cent falls
between October and March, frequently in the form of torrential showers. The prevalence of steep slopes in the country means that the greater part of this rainfall runs ofiF
and is thus lost to agricultural vegetation.
Ecologically Greece may be divided into four principal zones distinguished by : the
distribution of the important meteorological factors, the occurrence of different soil types,
and the phenologic index of legumes and cereals. This division is based on two lines ;

DIMITRIUS ATH. PANOS

one passes a little to the south of the 39th parallel and of the Pindus Mountains, dividing
the country into cold northern and warm southern zones ; the other line passes to the east,
quite close to the 22nd meridian and to the east of the watershed in the mountains,
dividing Greece into dry eastern and humid western zones. On this rough geographical
basis the following approximate divisions can be recognized.
1. South-east Greece : warm and dry : zone of barley, Cicer arietinum, Ceratonia
siliqua, Amygdalus comm,unis, olive and vines, Vitis vinifera.
2. South-west Greece : warm and humid: zone of currant-grapes, V. vinifera
var. apyzena (Vitis ficus carica), citrus fruit, soybean and cotton.
3. North-east Greece : cold and dry : zone of hard wheat, Lathyrus cicera, maize,
tobacco, Morus alba and the wild pear {Pyrus amygdaliformis).
4. North-west Greece : cold and humid : zone of potato, rye, forage peas and
apples.
Within each zone there may be distinguished three sub-divisions based on altitude,
(a) the low-lying regions or pla.ins up to about 500 metres, comprising the most important
agricultural plains of the country, (b) the high or mountainous regions, at or around 1000
metres, comprising the most important plateaux agriculturally, and (c) the very high or
very mountainous regions over 1000 metres in altitude.
1. Sotdh-east Greece, including parts of Crete, is the driest and hottest part. The
rainfall varies up to 500 nim.; there are periods of intense dryness in summer. Southeastern Greece has a great amount of sunshine, 2600 to 3000 hours with little cloud, and
has also a high evaporation ; at Athens, surface evaporation rises to 1616 mm. compared
with 383.9 mm. of total annual rainfall.
Water is the most important limiting factor in agricultural production, and could
easily be regulated by the appropriate agricultural methods. The zone is also characterized by frequency of basins, and by the very large amount of limestone in the soil
materials. Types of soils completely saturated with calcium have developed, especially
terra rossa and Rendzina types.
Dry Mediterranean forest soils develop exclusively on the non-calcareous rocks, and
their presence distinctly indicates the division between south-east Greece, south-west and
north-east Greece. They are characterized by a high lime content in the deepest strata,
by a high silica content in the upper layer, and by a low humus content. This is the
poorest and driest soil type ; on it only xerophytic species can prosper, more especially
olives, hay cereals, barley, ervil, grasspea and Oicer arietinum. A basis for the improvement of production in this region may be found in the culture of appropriate species, and
especially of hay and pasture legumes, which will at the same time improve soil fertility.
Animal husbandry may then be increased, and the agricultural income raised because
of the higher yields from the rotating crops.
2. Sovih-west Greece includes the littoral region of Epirus with the Ionian Isles, as
well as the zone of Crete lying to the west of the 25 meridian, and represents the best zone
for crop production. Here also are the regions with sub-tropical conditions characterized
by both adequate humidity and favourable temperature, above 20C. for several months
of the year. Combined with this high mean temperature is also very intense sunshine,
higher than in any other zone, varying between 2600 and 3100 hours or more per year.
Also in the lower parts of this region and over a large area there are 800 mm. of rain,
which rises to 1200 mm. and more, especially in the Ionian region.

THE FOBAGB BESOUEOES OF GBEEOE

Limestone is also very widespread and constitutes the parent material of the terra
rossa and Rendzina types which often provide a basis for the cultivation of special crops
such as raisins. This is the region economically best fitted for agricultural as well as industrial production, because it also has enormous undeveloped reserves of hydro-electric
power.
3. North-east Greece has in general dry to semi-humid and cold conditions with sunshine varying between 2400 and 2800 hours. It is distinguished ftom south-east Greece
by the complete absence of the dry Mediterranean forest soil types. Because of its better
vegetation, higher rainfall and greater relative humidity, this zone is characterized by the
chestnut forest soils with or without a B horizon, depending on other climatic characters.
Many soil types have a smaller content of lime with an alkaline reaction, which downgrades more or less to a neutral or acid reaction. The dominant type in the plains of
Larissa, Serres, Drama, and (Jombtinis is, according to N. Liatsikas, " the Greek steppelike chestnut soils", which are not typical steppe soUs, but come from clearing forest soils
or from old solonetz. They are distinguished by their high clay content of up to 38.5 per
cent, their mediocre lime content in the lower strata of the soil, and their small amount
of organic substance even in the top layer. The Greek steppe type extends over the great
plains of the country and is well adapted to the production of grain, especially hard wheat,
because cereal production is generally favoured by medium rainfall, combined with a more
uniform temperature, adequate sunshine and relatively high humidity. The conservation of the soil fertility demands the replacement of the present cereal monoculture by
rotations, with soil-enriching plants to prevent the impoverishment of the soil in organic
matter. In this zone, spreading and continuous bands of Rendzinas have also developed
representing great possibilities for agricultural production.
The saline and alkaline type of soil is found over wide areas in the littoral region of
this zone ; extensive lands not now cultivated could be raised in value by the cultivation
of forage plants, and at the same time improved for higher types of agricultural cultivation.
4. North-west Greece is characterized by semi-humid, humid, and very humid conditions with rainfall varying from 600 to 1200 mm. or more, sunshine between 2300 and
2600 hours, and medium temperature, lying as it does between the 14.5 to 17.5C. isotherms
except for the warm and humid band of the Ionian littoral.
The formation of stable types of soils of great agricultural value is hindered by the
mountainous rehef and steep slopes of the zone, causing a great deal of erosion, so that the
zone is characterized primarily by animal husbandry and arboriculture, the former of
which could be greatly improved by the distribution of appropriate forage plants.
Terra rossa and Rendzinas predominate on the limestone rocks, being present in
spots and rarely in continuous bands. Both are represented in limited areas, and are
more or less between the forest soils with ABC horizon, and the chestnut forest soUs which
predominate in the mountain masses. The cultivation of perennial forage plants is
necessary for this zone to ensure the consolidation of the arable topsoil, and to prevent
soil wash. This would also help to create a proper liaison between agriculture, forestry
and stock raising, as the animals could be maintained on pasture during the greater part
of the year and especially during summer, because of the abundant and regular rains which
assure a continuous growth of the green pasturage necessary for economical beef production.

DlMITEnTS ATH. PANOS

In this brief reference to eoological divisions, the types of soils may be clearly distinguished in respect to their productive capacity in the difiFerent climatic groups. For
example, the terra rossa type of the lowlands of south-eastern Greece has a different productive value from those of lowlands in other zones and especially in south-west Greece,
where conditions of precipitation and temperature are at the same time more favourable.
The Rendzinas are also more suitable for wheat production in the highlands of southeast Greece than in north-west Greece and on the other hand less suitable than the high
parts of south-west Greece for the production of potatoes, etc.
Thus the outline of ecological conditions facilitates the evaluation of such conditions
for the choice of appropriate plants and methods for their cultivation, and thus assists
greatly in the agricultural rehabilitation of the country. Since most of the experiments
now to be described were made imder the conditions obtaining at Larissa on the plain of
eastern Thessaly, it may be interesting to give more detailed information on the climate
of this region (Table 2).
Absolute temp.
Mean
temp.
Degrees C.

Month
January
February
March
April ..
May ..
..
June
July
August
..
September ..
October
..
November
December
Mean average
TABLE

..

4.0
6.5
9.9
14.3
19.2
24.2
28.9
27.1
22.5
16.9
11.2
5.7
15.9

Min.
Max.
Degr sesC.
20.5
21.5
27.5
29.0
35.0
40.5
44.6
42.0
37.3
34.5
24.5
20.5

Rainfall
in
mm.

Days
of
rain

Hours of
sun in
1940

81.8
48.4
40.2
42.5
44.8
40.8
17.1
9.4
21.1
66.5
63.9
91.5

11
7
8
7
8
6
4
2
4
8
8
12

64.40'
137.05'
186.55'
221.45'
207.50'
286.55'
368.30'
328.05'
308.15'
160.00'
132.35'
81.10'

568.0

85

2383.45'

.17.5
9.0
7.0
2.4
2.0
6.0
8.0
7.4
2.0
0.0
5.4
13.0

2. Mean monthly distribution of temperature, sunshine and rain at Larissa during


the period 193^-42.
EXPERIMENTS AT LABISSA

Soil. The soil of the experimental fields at Larissa belongs to the steppe-like chestnut soils of Greece, which characterize the principal plains of north-east Greece, and which
have an extreme tenacity and a low lime content.
Plani maierial. It was necessary for the satisfactory initiation and conduct of this
research to collect suitable plant material. This was carried out on a large scale, some
1240 lots of legume seeds being collected from 30 countries.
Selections were made within this plant material to separate the interesting types.
Por the creation of new tsrpes, crosses were made in 367 combinations involving six
dififerent species. The material selected was included in comparative trials in plots 2.5,
5, 10 and 20 metres square, the total number of plants being 145,426 in 1367 different
experiments for the years 1933-43.

THE FORAGE RES0T7RCES OF GREECE

Comparisons were made on the basis of several replications and with detailed observations in order to counteract great inequalities in composition of soils because of their
complex geological origin, varied relief, and other special conditions. The jdelds obtained
have been calculated according to the method of probable error and the application of
known types.
After the initial triak at Larissa and the multiplication of seed reserves, experimentation was extended to other regions of north-eastern Greece and especially at Salonika,
seat of the Institute for Crop Improvement; at Serres in eastern Macedonia; Nea
Moudania in Chalcidonia, and Orestia in western Thrace. There were also substations
at Kaillaria of western Macedonia, and at Jannina in the Epirus, for north-western Greece;
at Tripoli for the high parts of south-western Greece ; and on the Messara plain in Crete
for south-eastern Greece.
OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the work were briefly to determine :


1. the best annual or biennial plants for the exclusive production of hay or of
pasturage, to replace the existing sources of fodder on uncultivated land, and
to fertilize the soil by their organic residues and nitrogen,
2. the annual plants, especially dry legumes, which are suitable for soil improvement and for the production of seeds high in protein and fats, which may be
used exclusively or in various combinations for food, industrial purposes, and
for forage, and
3. the perennial plants capable of being established on the meadows or in pastures
for the complete feeding of worldng and producing animals.
The results obtained in each of these directions are given below.
ANNUAL FORAGE AND HAY PLANTS

Crimson Clover {TrifoUum incarnatum). We have had to turn to crimson clover to


replace the West European red clover, the development of which is hindered by the high
mean temperatures (July isotherm above 22'^C.), and the excessive dryness of the summers.
Fifteen varieties have been tested from different sources including France, Grermany,
Forage yields
Botanical type

T. airopurpureum . .
T. airopurpureum ..
T. atropurpureum ..
T. vilmorini . .
T. vilmorini aUnts ..
T. cameum, ..

Origin

Italy
Hungary
Italy
France
France
Germany

kg. per
hectare
green
18570
18300
24000
15920
14880
18306

dry
5120
4360
5950
5310
4705
5660

Flower
colour

red
red
white
red
white
rose

Flowering
date

May 2
May 2
May 2
May 27
May 27
June 5

TABLE 3. Results of experiments on TrifoUum incarnatum. at Larissa


1934-1940.

DIMITRItrS ATH. PANOS

Italy, Hungary and Australia; these from the point of view of development belong to
four botanical tjrpes, and are aJso distinguished by their flower colour. Table 3 shows
the results received from the most productive varieties from early monthly sowings up to
middle of November. Yields fall with later sowings. Two early varieties. Ml 92 and
M1269, have also been tried in both northern and southern Greece. Production in the
north was 4260 kg. per hectare dry weight and in south Greece 2125 kg. per hectare.*
Crimson clover can also produce 2.7 times more fodder than the natural vegetation,
and leaves greater quantities of organic residues in the soil. Hulled or unhulled seed
can be used equally well for sowing, if the quantity of unhulled seed used is doubled.
Results show that the seed of this clover can be extended on the plains of north-eastern
Greece to replace red clover as a rotation crop, as it shows good adaptability to alkaline
soils when sown early in October.
TrifoUum alexandrinum. This clover is widely cultivated in the rich region of the
Nile, as a classic rotation plant for enrichment of the cotton lands ; we have therefore
commenced its experimental cultivation to determine its value in Greece also.
Five varieties from different sources tested at Larissa gave mediocre yields because
of their sensitivity to cold and drought, and also because of the compactness of the soils
and their low fertility and dry conditions. This legume is very inferior in yield in both
northern and south-eastern Greece to other legumes such as lucerne, sweet clover, crimson clover and vetch.
For good growth it requires humid and warm conditions and well-watered soils with
a high natural fertility. Such conditions are foimd in south-west Greece, and the crop
can be cultivated there with advantage.
TrifoUum pratense. Red clover is t3rpical of European agriculture but it is not
adapted for use as a rotation crop in Greece, even in the principal plateaux of the cooler
ecological zones, because of the summer drought and the slight and irregular rainfall during the summer. It therefore requires to be studied as a meadow and pasture plant for
higher altitudes in the ecological zones only where other conditions favour its growth.
Results of trials show, however, that there are other species better adapted to cold and
drought which can be used with greater advantage in the establishment of meadows and
pastures.
Sweet clover. A collection of 43 varieties of sweet clover was made, 7 of the annual
and 36 of the biennial type. Nearly all these varieties were received from the United
States of America and from Canada.
Table 4 gives results obtained from the most productive biennial varieties tried. In
trials at Larissa, the annual sweet clover, Hubam, was the most productive. It has been
established that sweet clover can be utilized &s a soil-improving plant even in the fresh
soils of south-east Greece, where the annual varieties succeed better than the biennial
varieties, and the desired improvement can be assured when suitable varieties are used.
In this zone, as also in the other zones, sweet clover with lucerne can become the basis for
a greater production of fodder and pasturage during the summer period, especially when
there is a very noticeable scarcity of feed.
* kg. per hectare=approximately lb. per acre.

THE FORAGE BES0TJB0E8 01" GEEEOE

Species

Variety

Melilotus alba biennis


Melilotua alba biennis
Melilotus alba biennis
Mdilotu8 alba biennia
Melilotus alba biennie
Melilotus officinalis
MeliloPu8 offldnalis
Melilotus officinalis

..

No. of
years

Yield

Australia
Hungary
No. 22156
United States
Arctic No. 18809 United States
Arctic
Canada
United States
Redfield
United States
"GruhdyCounty"
No. 16125
United States
"Erector"
Canada
"Zouave 88"
Canada

Melilotus officinalis
Melilotus offydnalis
TABLE 4.

Source

2490
2670
3450
1210
1170
3630
1820

7
5
6
4
4
6
4

1600
2380
2350

4
4
4

Average yields in kg. per ha. of biennial sweet clover, 1935-1941.

Sorghum, Panicum, Seiaria. Several varieties of sorghums and millets have been
tried for the production of green and dry feed. Sorghum, the most productive of these,
cannot be considered more valuable than the sweet clover varieties, which have a higher
protein content and a capacity to improve the soil and to conserve more moisture than is
possible with crops of sorghum. Sudan grass gives a better production of hay in dry soils
than sweet clover.
DRY LEGUMES

Dry legumes for mixed use as grain or as feed


The Grasspeas. The so-called grasspea is found in Greece in difiFerent varieties of
three different species : Lathyrus cicera, L. sativiis, aand L. ochrus
From the forage point of view, Lathyrus cicera is the most interesting, because of its
great resistance to both drought and dry cold. Tables 5 and 6 give the comparative results
of sowing grasspea in autumn at two different distances between plants.
Yields of grain

Identity

Lathyrus
Lathyrus
Lathyrus
Lathyrus

cicera L-40
cicera L-92
ochrus ^-Sl
saiiims L-17

Distance between plants


in metres
0.40 X 0.10 0.20 X 0.05
753
1169
506

1430
2079
780

Average
resistance
to cold
(16C.)
100 = 5
3.7
4.2
1.9
0.0

Date of
flowering

April 14
AprU16
April 17

Sun-hour8

678.14
593.2
600.26

TABLE 5. Average yields in kg. per ha. of grain from different species and varieti&s of grasspea at Larissa, 1940. Sown Nov. 13, 1939.

It has been established that the grasspea responds to dense sowing in early autumn,
being then a most certain crop especially in south and north-east Greece but also at lower
elevations in north-east Greece. The grasspea was compared with other plants for grain
and feed in three experiments in 1943, when the total rainfall from September 1, 1942 to

iJIMITRIUS ATH. PANOS

10

Type

Yields
Kg. per
hectare

Local variety of Bitira


Lathyrus-Ephtichia
Pois gris de Vilmorin
Early vetch
Late vetch
Local variety (Larissa)

1360
2000
1280
1230
590
1420

Strain

Species

No.
Lathyrus cicera
Lathyrus cicera
Piaum arvenae
Vicia aativa
Vida sativa
Ervum ervilia
TABLE

M-245
L-92
M-10
M-246
M-366
M-26

Number of
years of
experiment
8
5
8

8
6
7

6. Grain yield3 (in kg. per ha.) of grasspea, compared with other forage planta at
Larissa, during the years 1934-1941. Sown in autumn.

August 31, 1943 was 282 mm. compared with an average of 568 mm. for 1933-1942. It
was found that:
1. For the production of seed of dry legumes, the various crops can be listed in the
following order of^ importance :
(a) early varieties of ervil (bitter vetch), which generally show the greatest resistance to drought;
(b) even earlier varieties of grasspea follow next, and still lower are common early
varieties of vetch ;
(c) the late varieties of common vetch and those of late forage peas may never
reach the grain stage, because of their sensitivity to drought;
(d) the late varieties of ervil (bitter vetch) give yields inferior to the grasspea and
little above those of late vetch.
2. For the production of feed it has been established that the yields of early grasspea,
early bitter vetch, and early vetch are about equal. The grasspea gives greater yields
than crimson clover, barley, oats, lentils and especially late forage peas and later vetch.
Vetch. Vetch was, until the Second World War, the most widely cultivated annual
legume in crop rotations, because of the frequent introduction from foreign lands of
quantities of seed which have been sown especially in spring for the production of feed.
The varieties of Vicia pannonica and of V. villosa which have been tried are very poorly
adapted because of their low resistance to the drought which prevails during spring and
summer, and which reduces their vegetative growth and their grain production considerably. Selected indigenous varieties sown in autumn produced the best yields of
fodder and seed (Table 7). These varieties have good resistance to winter cold.
Grain yield

Fodder yield

Autumn
sowing

Spring
sowing

Autumn
sowing

Spring
sowing

M-246

(early local variety)

1200

510

4181

2587

Bi-22

(early selections)

1394

286

5545

4304

M-366

(late local variety)

527

120

4704

3458

TABUB 7.

Average yields (in kg. per ha.) of grain and forage varieties of Vicia sativa during
1934-1942.

THE FOEAGE BESOtTROES OF "GREECE

11

The future extended use of these varieties will increase the yields of vetch in Greece,
and at the same time contribute to a replacement of the late varieties introduced from
Roumania and Bulgaria which by their sensitivity to cold when sown in autumn, and by
their xmknown origin and identity are not adapted to Greek conditions. Vetch gave
smaller yields than the grasspea and ervil in the lowlands of south and north-east Greece,
which are lacking in humidity and fertility.
Ervil (Bitter vetch). Ervil has been cultivated in Greece since ancient times, thanks
to its resistance to drought, which increases with autumn sowings in north-east Greece.
Table 8 gives results from autumn and spring sowing, showing that it is possible to increase
yields considerably by changing the sowing date. This fact has been confirmed at
Larissa.
Grain yield in kg. per ha.
SoTiroe

Autumn
sowing

No. of
years

Spring
sowing

No. of
years

Greece

M-26

1376

1045

Greece

M-392

1532

1120

France

M-1008

1542

1020

TABLE 8. Average grain yields of ervil varieties during 1934-1942.

Dry Legumes for mixed use as human food and forage, sown in autumn or in spring
Lentil. The lentil has long been cultivated in Greece ; it is a very valuable dry
legume and familiar all over the country, where it is generally sown in spring, except in
the south where it is also partly sown in autumn. Experiments have established that it is
possible to cultivate the lentil throughout Greece with autumn sowing, for the production
of seed as well as of excellent feed.
The Asiatic type is especially suited to autumn sowing; it has red cotyledons, red
flowers, and reddish grains, is up to 40 cm. in height, and has an adequate resistance to
cold, which in the winter of 1942 was 17.5C. below zero. Western European varieties
have a much lo'wer cold resistance, but a better grain quality.
Peas. The cultivation of peas on a wide scale was almost unknown in Greece until
recently; 15 years ago peas began to be used in north Greece for the production of seed and
more especially of fodder. The culture of peas should be of value in northern Greece, in
connexion with the replacement of the grain farming system and the introduction of more
intensive rotations. In the south, yields are small because of drought and insect pests.
As table food, peas are replaced in Greece by lentils, haricot beans, cowpea and more rarely
by chickpeas, legumes used here more than in Western Europe or elsewhere. Table 9
indicates results obtained with a comparison of several varieties.
The " Vilmorin gray pea" (M.IO) gives constant and satisfactory yields of fodder
and seed in the north. It could there with advantage replace the grasspea and the early
vetch, which are more sensitive to the cold humidity.
Peas do not succeed in the south-east because of the lack of sufficient coolness during their early period of growth, and because of the spring drought, which checks their

DIMITRrUS ATH. PANOS

12

Source

Strain
No.

Botanical type

M-10
K-157
K-1558
M-1560
M-1937

Piaum arvense var. occidentale


Pisum arvense var. navale
Pisum sativum var. grandiaemineum
Pisum sativum var. grcUiosumum
Pisumsativumvar. mesomelan

France
Greece
Germany

Italy

United

No. of
years

Yield
kg. i^er

9
4
6
5
3

Notes

ha.

1210
1193
1262
1088

Sibiricum
Victoria

493

States
M-2U3 Pisum sativum var. mUgatum
Pisum sativum var. grandisemineum
B-88

Canada
Greece

3
5

504

"Chang "
K1998
Cuinivere

1119

TABLE 9. Average grain yields of peas at Larissa during 1934-1942.

development and makes the production of both feed, and more especially grain, inferior
to that of the early vetch, the grasspea, and the ervil.
Chickpea. The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) represents the grasspea of the edible dry
legumes as far as resistance against drought and poor soil conditions are concerned, and is
considered to be inferior only to the lentil and the grasspea. Thus the use of the most
productive varieties will greatly facilitate the extension of its cultivation, and will also
increase the value of mediocre soils. Results indicate (Table 10) that it is possible to
increase considerably the production of chickpea by using adapted varieties which are coldresistant and which can be sown also in autumn, especially in southern Greece, with
adequate yields.
Soin-ce

Grain yield
1934-42
spring sowing

No. of
years

Date of
maturity,
harvesting

Seed
colour

1020

June 15

white

M-1690 Hungary

1126

June 20

white

M-2169 Italy

1236

June 18

reddish

M-2174 Italy

1453

June 19.

black

E-21

1194

June 19

white

M.547

Greece

Greece

TABLE 10. Comparative yields (in kg. per ha.) of different varieties of chickpea during
1934-1943.

Soum in Spring
Fidd and Garden bean {Haricot bean). In Greece the field bean replaces the pea
and is a very popular food. Because of its importance in human nutrition, it has been
given great attention in experiments which have been made exclusively under irrigation
(Table 11). The cultivation of the kidney bean can be largely extended in the cool regions
of north-east, south-west, and north-west Greece, by using adapted varieties.
For the south-east, as well as for the drier regions, the white variety of Pkaseolus
a:CtUifoUu8 is of more interest. Its performance varies widely according to conditions.

13

THE FOEAGB RESOURCES OF GREECE

Botanical tyjie
Pliioseohus vulgari8 ellipticus albus
Phaaeolu8 acutifolms ctlbus
Phaseolus vulgaris ellipticus aUma
Phaseolus aureus
Plxaseolus vulgaris ellipiicus albus
Phaseolus acuiifolius var. flavus
Phaseolus vulgaris oblonffus ellipticus
PiMseolus ellipticus cretneo bruneus
Pltaseolus ellipticus eremeo bruneus
Phaseolus vulgaris oblongus albus

No. of
years
grown

Soui-oe

Grain
yield

United
States
Rvissia
United
States
Greece
Hungary
Manchuria
United
States
United
States
Australia
Greece

1141

Micliigan robust

1085
1001

4
4

Tepary No. 1537


Hungarian large
white

1003
952
921
798

4
3
4
4

804

632
758

4
2

Observations

Galganasca
Kentucky
Wonder
Kentucky Wonder

TABLE 11. Comparative yields (in kg. per ha.) of varieties of beans under irrigation at Larissa.

Although it has great resistance against drought everywhere, it can be utilized to greater
advantage in more favourable conditions. Thus at Larissa it gave, with 28 replicates
and without irrigation, 610 kg. per hectare, and in the year 1940, 917 kg. per hectare with
foxir waterings. During the same year, its yields ranged from 558 kg. at Cilkis to 2533
kg. at Serres, on fresh and fertile but non-irrigated soils. TMB bean varies in height from
13 to 95 cm.
There are great possibilities for the extension of its cultivation in Greece, which will
lead incidentally to the improvement in the nutrition of the population so far as protein
is concerned.
Cowpea. The cowpea {Dolichos sinensis) has like the kidney bean been cultivated
in Greece since the time of Alexander the Great, and is still maintained on a small scale,
especially in mixed cultures with maize in northern Greece. Its cultivated varieties are,
however, low in yield compared with foreign and especially American varieties; its
cultivation in U.S.A. has been intensified in connexion with its multiple uses for food,
forage, soil improvement and industrial purposes.
Research in Greece shows that the potential value of the cowpea is considerable if
adapted varieties are used. The cowpea should become a crop of primary importance for
the suitable regions of the country and especially for northern and south-western Greece,
where its cultivation will provide a basis for the rational development of its multiple use.
Soybean. The soybean has not yet for many reasons become a commercial crop,
especially because the tentative cultures which were made during the installation of the
refugees did not succeed, because of the unsuitable varieties used. However, believing
strongly in the future of this crop in Greece, we have proceeded with tho necessary experiments to select the varieties required for its extended cultivation. Ten years of comparative trials with more than 300 varieties have established the fact that its cultivation
can also be remunerative in Greece if suitable varieties are chosen. Mixed cultures of
maize and soybean frequently assure better and more constant jdelds than pure cultures,
other conditions being equal, which makes it probable that the initial propagation

DIMITRIUS ATH. PANOS

14

of soybean culture should be through mixed cultures, these being more applicable to
the existing state of mind of the farmers, as the culture of maize already (1938) occupies
277,500 hectares in Greece.
PERENNIAL PLANTS FOR PEED OR PASTCTRAGE

To deal successfully with the third problem of increasing meadow and pasture yields
in both quantity and quality, we have proceeded with experiments comparing imported
varieties with species of indigenous origin. The principal results are noted below along
very general lines.
iMceme. This is a famiUar plant in the Mediterranean lands ; thanks to its high
production of protein, it is admirably suited to the close integration of stock-raiising with
agriculture, thus contributing to the general progress of the country. Thanks to the
help received from many quarters, we have been able to collect 89 different varieties,
mostly from Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal,
as well as the United States of America, Russia, Canada, Australia, etc. Tables 12 and 13
give comparative data for different varieties of the genus Medicago, and for other forage
plants. Lucerne can be cultivated even without irrigation in the lower lands of northern
and south-eastern Greece, as our experiments on perennial crops have shown for the first
time. Its cultivation may also be extended considerably and the production of fodder
greatly augmented to the benefit of agricultural revenue and soil fertility.
Average

Botanical

Source

type
saliva
sativa
sativa
saliva
sativa
varia
sativa
sativa
varia
sativa
varia
sativa
sativa
sativa
sativa
varia
sativa
sativa
sativa
sativa
sativa

Average
yield

Australia
Greece
Greece
Greece
Italy
Germany
Russia
France
France
France
Germany
U.S.A.
S. Australia
U.S.A.
U.SA.
U.S.A.
Hungary
Russia
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.

protein
content

kg. per ha. per cent


7625
24.02
6976
22.19
22.43
7320
6735
20.76

7540
7905
22.70
7110
25.24
7635
23.79
23.21
6735
7490
25.82
8170
22.32
7870
8370
23.16
7540
24.42
7490
23.62
6430
7500
21.11
7360
23.84
22.17
6690
6845
22.70
6700

No. of
years
grown

Observations

6
6
6
6
6
6
6

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6

Poitou
Rustique
Provence
Unterfranken No. 719
Kansas AA. No. 20091
Dakota Common AA 16083
Arizona AA 21940
Grimm AA 19967
Magyszeuaca
K 1836 Middle Turkestan
Hairy Peruvian AA No. 21941
Arizona Common No. 22027
California Common No. 22035

TABLE 12. Average yields of forage and protein from lucerne varieties grown without
irrigation at Lariesa during 193742.

THE FORAGE RKSOXJROES OP GREECE

Nonirrigated

Plants compared
Medicago sativa
Melilotus aUbus biennis
Onobryckis persica . .
Onobrychia sativa
Hedyaarum coronarium
Lotus comiculaitcs ..
Trifolium pratense ..
Trifolium repens
Trifolium subterraneum
Trifolium hybridum. .
Anthyllis vulneraria
Phalaris tuberosa
Avena datior
Dactylis glomerata
Lolium perenne
..
Paapalum dilatatum
Eragrostis curmila ..
Panicum proVutum .".
Poterium sanguisorba
Native herbage

..

..

4450
3716
3575
3975
2792
3300
1285
2070
1890
1025
2780
1312
1072
1743
843
3110
3030

3254
1591

15

Irrigated
10270
5642
8190
8400
1212
5976
6475
6670
8700
3718
,
2290
3036
2225
2268
4050
5146
2037
3617

TABLE 13. Yields (in kg. per ha.) of lucerne compared with other forage plants grown with and
without irrigation at Larissa during 1938-1942.

Lotxis corniculatTis. This is a common element of the native flora of the cotmtry on
the poorest and driest soils ; it possesses a great capacity for adjustment to severe conditions. We have tried 21 different varieties, of which varieties number M372, M464,
M1064 were the most productive.
Onobrychis. Sainfoin is a characteristic plant of the flora of the calcareous and
xerothermic regions of Mediterranean lands and is adapted for use in mixtures to produce
hay or pasturage. Nineteen varieties of different origin, more especially from Italy,
Germany, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, and Russia, have been tried. Experience indicates that the most productive varieties of sainfoin are adapted for use on soils of a
medium productivity where lucerne cannot compete.
Hedysarium coronarium. Sulla is one of the native forage plants of the Mediterranean
and has therefore been tried as a rotation crop for the production of green or dry feed.
Under irrigation it displays a remarkable sensitivity toward cold. Its low jdelds and its
remarkable inconsistency limit its probable agricultural value to the region of the Ionian
Isles where it grows naturally.
Trifolium repens. White clover has been tried in Greece only in meadows and pastures and not in crop rotations. It cannot be recommended as a rotation plant because
its yields are much lower than those of other rotation plants such as crimson clover and
sweet clover, and also lower than the other annual grain and forage legumes which are
better adapted to the conditions of the old agricultural system which prevails in Greece.
Its cultivation might be of value in more advanced regions where intensifled cropping with
irrigation is practised.

16

DIMITRnJS ATH. PAN08

Trifolium 8vbterraneum. This clover also occurs naturally in the Mediterranean


region, and has been widely used abroad, especially in Australia, for the improvement of
meadows and pastures. Experience indicates that it may be possible to utilize this
species for the improvement of meadows and pastures in humid moimtainous regions,
and for the progressive increase of soil fertility, which would then lead to an improvement
in the native flora. This clover has proved to be particularly sensitive to the mechanical
constitution of the soil; in compact soils, its multiplication, persistence, and yields are
greatly diminished as compared with Ught soils, wbere its development may be four times
as great.
OTHER PLANTS TESTED

In addition to the legumes tested for their suitability for meadows and pastures,
other plants have also come vmder review.
Poterium sanguisorba. Bumet is quite common in the native flora of light, warm,
and often poor permeable soils, being distinguished by its remarkable resistance to dry
and arid conditions.
Its agricultural value in Greece has now been demonstrated for the first time, this
being one of the original results of the work accomplished. It has been found to have,
under irrigated conditions, a sensitivity to watering which may possibly be due to the
cooling of the soil. Bumet in mixture with Lotits comiculatys may possibly greatly
increase yields in the poor, hot and dry regions, especially in southern Greece.
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass or cocksfoot) also occurs naturally in Greece, being
adapted for the production of fodder and the improvement of meadows and pastures in
shady places. Some 28 varieties have been tried, obtained from Greece, Australia,
Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada, and Hungary.
Other plants which were tried, generally in several varieties, were found to be inferior to those plants referred to above. These included: Avena ekUior, Agropyron
cristatum, Agrostis alba, Bromus inermis, Brachypodium pinnaium, Eragrostis curwla,
Festucapratensis, Festuca datior, F. rubra, Lolium italicum, L. perenne, Paspalum dilatatum
and Bromus.
Jerusalem artichoke. Another plant tried mostly for forage is the Jerusalem artichoke, Hdianihus tvberosus. This " potato of the dry countries" can often provide a
satisfactory yield with a dry matter content higher than mangels. The tubers contain
16.4 per cent of starch equivalent compared with 6.3 per cent in mangels, 72 per cent
in barley, and 59.7 per cent in oats. Thus an average crop of Jerusalem artichokes
amounting to 20,000 kg. of tubers per hectare corresponds to 52,600 kg. of mangels, 5,000
kg. of barley grain, and 7,500 kg. of oat grain yields, which can hardly be attained in
the extensive conditions of Greek agriculture.
The Jerusalem artichoke also provides foliage, and the dry stalks may during the
summer constitute combustible matter for many parts of the country. Trials made for
years in various regions confirm our preliminary opinion that its introduction in the
riparian or lightly inundated soils, and in lands of medium production may considerably
increase their productive values. The Jerusalem artichoke may help to create a better
balance in the Greek national economy, as between agriculture, forestry, arboriculture,
and stock raising. It may also provide raw material for different industries producing
sugar, alcohol, fabrics, paper, etc.

THE FOBAGE EESOTTBOES OF GREECE

17

CONOLTJSION

Greece is a rural country, most of the population being engaged in agriculture, which
moreover furnishes the greatest contribution to the national economy of the country.
The generally poor agricultural conditions, the low average returns, and the inadequate
nutrition of the population all combine to produce undesirable economic and social manifestations.
The existing poverty as "a symptom of faulty economic organization" indicated by
Howard R. Tolley, Chief, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture (1944), in discussing the general causes of economic unbalance in the world is true
for Greece also : "In a world where trade to all parts of the earth, near or far, is swift
and easy, we will persist in producing locally with inefiBcient methods and insufficient tools
and frequently on impoverished soils the agricultural products that might better be
produced elsewhere. That is not good economics ; that is not good nutrition."
For this reason, the data given in this paper are of importance in showing that improvements are possible in the existing agricultural situation. Several problems which
have long awaited a solution may now be satisfactorily solved. By the greater use of the
new varieties and species of forage and edible legumes, the agricultural production may
be developed towards the greater production of fats and proteins. As the production of
carbohydrates in its present extent is undesirable in Greece, it may be reduced at least
in area by the use of correct crop rotation, and by the development of new methods of
using the agricultural products so made available.
The results may also provide a basiB for the realization in Greece of the objectives of
the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, especially as concerns
" The conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production", as set forth in Article 1, par. 2 (c) of its constitution.
SUMMARY

It now becomes possible to achieve an increase of productivity of agricultural land as


well as an increase in the income of the grower. These objectives may be achieved by :
(a) The determination of those forage legumes which jdeld larger and more certain
crops as compared with the hay from natural flora produced on fallow and grazed land.
The yield data provided show the plants which may contribute to greater production of
fodder, conservation of soil and increase of soil fertility for other crops in the rotation.
(b) The determination of those annual legumes which, by replacing the fallow or
soil-exhausting crops, may secure a higher income for the grower, and at the same time
lead to the use of proper rotations in the existing extensive grain-producing farming
system (see Table 15).
The greater use of legume varieties for grain and especially of lathyrus, vetch, broad
bean, and lentil makes possible :
(i) an increase in wheat yields, making it possible to maintain the present wheat
production with less land ;
(ii) better and more regular feeding of live stock ;
(iii) improvements in food supply and in the economic conditions of the population ;
(iv) more intensive use of the land for the benefit of the national economy as a
whole.

DIMITBIUS ATH. PANOS

18

(c) In addition it has been possible to determine the perennial legumes more
adapted to Greek conditions, which may be used in the establishment of meadows,
and in the improvement of grazing lands. Table 13 gives comparative figures for different
crops and for native herbage, and shows that, with the proper use of these species, it will
Species
Natiiral flora
Crimson clover
Trifolium, alexandrinum . .
MelUotus (annual)
Mdilotus alba (biennial)
Lentils (autumn culture)
Vetch (late)
Vetch (early)
Peas-forage (late)
Grasspeas

Yield in
kg. per ha.
1591
5120
2360
2880
2490
4406
4370
3900
4270
4488 (yield of 1940)

TABI.E 14. Comparative yields of the natural flora and


cultivated forage plants at Larissa.

be possible to improve the composition of the natural flora of the meadows and grazing
lands; qualitative and quantitative yields will thereby be increased and a contribution
made towards improvements in animal husbandry. The present composition of the
natural herbage is very poor because of elimination of the legumes by intensive overgrazing and the multiplication of poor and unpalatable plants. Among the species prevailing in the Larissa area are Hordeum murinum, Lolium perenne, Sinapis arvensis,
Avena elatior, Carduus, Onopordon, Tribulv^, Euphorbia, Cichorium, Sonchv^, Papaver
rhoeas, Bellis, Hypericum, Agrostemma, and Agropyron B]^]^.,Polygonum avicvlare,Cynod<m
dactylon, Centaurea solsticialis, Setaria vertidUata, Hypericum crispum, Fumaria officinalis.
Convolvulus arvensis, Oladiolus segetum, Cirsium, Salvia, Lepidum. These species generally comprise more than 80 per cent of the total cover except in areas where more

Rotation
number

Kind of rotation

Wheat/wheat

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Fallow (half tilled)/-wheat . .


Fallow (tilled)/wheat
Peas/wheat
Broad beans/wheat
Crimson clover/wheat
Vetch/wheat . .
. . . .
Peas (as green nianure)/wheat
Bitter vetch (Ervum ervilia)/Mvhea,t

Average yield
grain in lb.
per acre

Average yield
straw in lb.
per acre

wheat

legume

wheat

legume

900

890
(wheat)

1930

1930

2850
3060
2930
3140
3030
2910
3460
2790

1300
1190
1910
1770

1300
1380
1350
1460
1400
1360
1620
1310

670
1170
820
730

1090

15. Results of using various non-irrigated rotations in the Larissa area (1938 to 1947).

THE rORAGE BESOUECES OF GREECE

19

soil moisture is available or during wetter years when legumes grow, especially Trifolium
suhterraneum, Medicago denticulata, Lathyrus aphaca, Vicia spp., Trifolium hirtum, T.
echinatum, T. resupinatum, and others which increase at the expense of the non-legumes,
and which mostly occupy the lower storey of the ground cover. Any improvements in
management which may favour those species are very desirable in the improvement of
the natural grazing areas.
ACKNOWIJIDGEMBNTS

I should like to take this opporttinity of thanking everyone who contributed to the canying out
of the work done in Larissa. Also do I owe my special thanks to : Dr. Roland McKee, Senior
Agronomist of the United States Department of Agriculture, for his great help in sending valuable
seeds and giving very experienced advice, and also by helping in the translation of the original manuscript ; Dr. Norman C. Wright, who EIS member of the Mission of F.A.O. for Greece, in May, 1946,
visited the Station and gave very useful advice about the future direction of the work; Profassor
A. A. Johnson, who visited Larissa in May and June, 1948, and who gave decisive help in the publication of this article, as well as many and very useful criticisms; Dr. R. O. Whyte, who has given
considerable help by bringing together in the ablest way the above-mentioned contributions and who
has helped very much in the preparation of this article for publication.
Larissa, August 25th, 1949.