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Progress in Direct Seeding of an Alternative Natural Rubber Plant, <i>Taraxacum kok-saghyz</i> (L.E. Rodin)

Keener, Harold M., Shah, Ajay, Klingman, Mike, Wolfe, Scott, Pote, Dan, Fioritto, Ron
Agronomy 2018 v.8 no.9
Hevea brasiliensis, Taraxacum kok-saghyz, companion crops, composts, direct seeding, drilling, field experimentation, harvest date, mulches, planting date, roots, rubber, silt loam soils, soil temperature, temperate zones, Africa, Ohio, South East Asia
Natural rubber (NR) is currently sourced from a single species Hevea brasiliensis, which is primarily grown in Southeast Asia and Africa. The Taraxacum kok-saghyz (L.E. Rodin) (TK) plant, which grows in temperate climates and has NR in its roots, has been identified as an additional source for NR in the future. A major challenge to TK becoming a crop is direct seeding. This paper presents research on determining strategies for improving establishment of TK through direct seeding. Field trials were conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Ohio on a Wooster silt loam soil (2.4&ndash;2.9% OM) using &ldquo;wild&rdquo; TK seed. The study evaluated the impacts of different planting dates (April and May), planter types (broadcasting raw seed and drilling pelleted seed), companion crops, and compost mulch strips on plant stands (i.e., visible TK plant/TK seed drop). Results indicated that drilling of pelleted seed to a depth of 0.6 cm into a thin layer (<1.27 cm) of compost mulch after soil temperatures reach 16 &deg;C (mid-May in Northern Ohio) would give the highest stand by the fall harvest season. These studies provide insight into direct seeding of TK and a baseline to use for evaluating future generations of TK.