Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2002
Publication Date: 11/11/2002
Citation: SCHUMAN, G.E., MORTENSON, M.C., INGRAM, L.J. INTERSEEDING FALCATA ALFALFA (MEDICAGO SATIVA SSP. FALCATA) INTO NATIVE RANGELANDS: II. EFFECTS ON FORAGE PRODUCTION AND CARBON INPUTS. AGRONOMY ABSTRACTS. 2002. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Livestock producers in the Western U.S. are constantly seeking ways to increase forage production and forage quality on rangelands. Rangelands comprise about 60% of the earth's surface, therefore, any management change that enhances C sequestration, even slightly, has a significant C storage protential. A research project was established on rangelands in northwestern South Dakota where Medicago sativa ssp. falcata has been interseeded over the past 40 years to evaluate its effect on forage production, forage quality, and carbon sequestration. Sampling was accomplished on sites interseeded in 1965, 1987, and 1998 and on adjacent control sites of each interseeding date. Forage production on the 1965, 1987, and 1998 interseedings was increased by 68%, 143%, and 43%, respectively. Therefore, C sequestration was increased by an equivalent amount in the aboveground biomass. Root biomass did not exhibit signficant differences between interseeding and the control for any of the three dates. The lower soil C:N ratio of the interseeded sites may reflect enhanced decomposition of roots, hence the lack of treatment differences. Interseeding adaptable alfalfa into rangelands can enhance forage production and quality and can enhance C sequestration and aid in the mitigation of rising atmospheric CO2.