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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Using Cool-Season Legumes to Extend the Forage Production Season of Bermudagrass Pastures in the Southern Plains.

Authors
item Rao, Srinivas
item Northup, Brian
item Phillips, William
item Mayeux Jr, Herman

Submitted to: Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2005
Publication Date: November 10, 2005
Citation: Rao, S.C., Northup, B.K., Phillips, W.A., Mayeux, H.S. 2005. Using cool-season legumes to extend the forage production season of bermudagrass pastures in the southern plains [abstract]. Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. Paper No. 3172.

Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only.

Technical Abstract: Nitrogen fertilizers are essential to maximize productivity of monocultures of perennial grasses. Including legumes in such pastures can improve seasonal distribution of high quality forage, and reduce N fertilizer requirements. This study determined if incorporation of annual cool-season legumes could lengthen the spring forage production period of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) pastures. Treatments applied to experimental plots included inter-seeding of grasspea (Lathyrus sativa L. cv. AC-Greenfix) or lentil (Lens culinaris Med. cv. Indianhead) in mid-March with 60 kg ha-1 P205, or application of 0, 45, or 90 kg ha-1 N. Forage samples were clipped from random (n=3) 0.25 m-2 quadrates on five sampling dates (May 1 to July 15) annually during 2001-2003, and used to define total biomass and concentrations of nitrogen (N) and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM). Significant (P<0.05) 2-way interactions were noted between sampling date, years and treatments for total biomass, as were 3-way interactions for N and IVDDM. End-of-season biomass of plots inter-seeded with grasspea (5550 kg ha-1) was intermediate to biomass of plots receiving 45 or 90 kg ha-1 N (5305 and 7785 kg ha-1, respectively). Average forage N and IVDDM concentrations of the bermudagrass-grasspea mixture were 34 and 6% higher, respectively, than bermudagrass treated with 90 kg ha-1 N. End-of-season biomass of the lentil treatment was similar to unfertilized controls, but N and IVDDM concentrations were intermediate to 45 and 90 kg ha-1 N treatments. Inter-seeding grasspea into bermudagrass pasture can produce sufficient forage in spring to allow the start of grazing one month earlier, and improve forage quality through mid-summer.

Last Modified: 12/28/2014
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