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Title: Forage quality of red clover intercropped in winter cereal grains

item BLASER, B
item Singer, Jeremy
item GIBSON, L

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2006
Publication Date: 11/16/2006
Citation: Blaser, B.C., Singer, J.W., Gibson, L.R. 2006. Forage quality of red clover intercropped in winter cereal grains[CD-ROM]. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Nov. 12-16, 2006, Indianapolis, IN.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Incorporating winter cereal grains into North Central U.S. corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotations requires recommendations for optimizing cropping systems. The addition of a red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) intercrop to winter cereal grains can provide forage; however, the tradeoffs between dry matter (DM) yield and forage quality in winter cereal/legume systems are unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of winter cereal grain species, cereal grain seeding rate, and red clover seeding rate on red clover forage quality. Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack) were seeded at 100, 200, 300, and 400 seeds m-2 in October of 2002 and 2003. In March, red clover was frost-seeded at rates of 0, 300, 600, 900, 1200 and 1500 seeds m-2. Total DM from red clover harvests in late summer and early fall of both years ranged from 3.2 to 6.0 Mg DM ha-1 and an additional harvest the following spring yielded 2.5 to 3.0 Mg DM ha-1. In two study years, forage crude protein, in vitro dry matter digestibility, and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ranged from 177 to 265, 650 to 789, and 240 to 345 g kg-1, respectively. Cereal grain species and seeding rate inconsistently affected forage quality. Increasing red clover seeding rates above 900 seeds m-2 may increase NDF concentrations. Producers that intercrop red clover in winter wheat or triticale should frost-seed at 900 to 1200 seeds m-2 to balance DM yield and forage quality.