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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Research Project #436969

Research Project: Forage Production of Alfalfa Established in Silage Corn vs. Conventional Production Systems

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Project Number: 5090-12210-001-023-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2020
End Date: Mar 31, 2023

Objective: Assess planting and harvest date effects on forage production of silage corn and on establishment, stand density, and forage production of interseeded alfalfa relative to conventional forage production systems.

Experiments will be carried out for two years at one location in Wisconsin and one location in Idaho. In year 1, full season silage corn will be planted in late April and in mid May and harvested during September at dry matter contents ranging from 30 to 45% to determine dry matter yield. Alfalfa will be interseeded immediately after corn planting and shortly after corn emergence, while conventionally established alfalfa will be spring-seeded and harvested up to three times, summer seeded after harvest of a small grain or short season silage corn, and spring-seeded following corn. Alfalfa plant density will be monitored during establishment. In year two, alfalfa stem density will be determined in the spring and forage will be harvested four times at the late bud/early flowering growth stage to determine dry matter yield. Samples of silage corn and alfalfa will be analyzed for protein, ash, and fiber fractions and for fiber digestibility. Corn will also be analyzed for starch content and starch digestibility.