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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Bermudagrass Height on Clover Establishment

Author
item Springer, Timothy

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 14, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: During the warm-season, many livestock producers in the hill-lands of the western mid-South rely on bermudagrass for forage. Bermudagrass is the dominant, perennial, warm-season grass in the region and is productive from May through September. The addition of cool-season forage legumes to bermudagrass pastures can extend the grazing season. Research was conducted to evaluate the effects of bermudagrass stubble height at planting on clover establishment in the hill-lands of the western mid- South. Bermudagrass stubble heights at planting significantly reduced legume ground cover. For every 5 cm increase in stubble height there was nearly a 10% reduction in clover ground cover (2,84%; 7,76%; 12,65%; and 17,55%; stubble height in cm, percentage ground cover). This reduction was probably due to a lack of good soil-seed contact caused by the inability of seeding equipment to cut through the residue to make proper seed placement. Crimson clover establishment (89%) was better than white clover (51%). The shorter the stubble height at planting the better the establishment of the legume. Crimson clover stands declined in the regeneration year. In years when soils are saturated for long periods of time during the summer months, it would be advantageous to lightly reseed crimson clover to maintain cover.

Technical Abstract: The addition of cool-season forage legumes to bermudagrass pastures can extend the grazing season. Forage legumes are also higher in quality compared with bermudagrass. Legume based forage systems can also benefit the environment by reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizers that can pollute surface and ground water. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of bermudagrass stubble height on clover establishment in the hill-lands of the western mid-South. Bermudagrass stubble heights at planting significantly (P<0.05) reduced legume ground cover. For every 5 cm increase in stubble height there was nearly a 10% reduction in clover ground cover (2,84%; 7,76%; 12,65%; and 17,55%; stubble height in cm, percentage ground cover). This reduction was probably due to a lack of good soil-seed contact caused by the inability of seeding equipment to cut through the residue to make proper seed placement. Averaged across years, stubble heights, and cultivars, crimson clover establishment (89%) was better than white clover (51%). The height of bermudagrass stubble at planting affects the establishment small seeded white clover more than large seeded crimson clover. The shorter the stubble height at planting the better the establishment of the legume. Stand regeneration was constant for white clover. Crimson clover stands declined in the regeneration year. In years when soils are saturated for long periods of time during the summer months, it would be advantageous to lightly reseed crimson clover to maintain cover.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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