Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2011
Publication Date: 1/29/2012
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Stout, R.C., Goslee, S.C., Gonet, J.M. 2012. Seed banks and land-use history of pastures and hayfields on an organic dairy farm. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Paper #0182. CD-ROM.
Technical Abstract: Knowing how land-use history affects the seed bank in pastures would be useful in anticipating potential weed management needs. We characterized the seed bank in pastures and hayfields with different management histories on an organic dairy farm in New Hampshire. Three hay fields [two alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and one grass] and five pastures (3 to 50 years old) were sampled in August 2007 and 2010. At each site, two soil cores (1.88 cm diameter by 5 cm deep) were taken at 27 georeferenced points within a 20- by 50-m Whitaker plot. Soil samples were placed in a greenhouse for 5 months and germinated seedlings counted regularly. In 2007, seed banks in the hay fields had the fewest seeds (8 to 83 seeds per plot sample) and plant species (2 to 14 per plot sample) compared with pastures. Old permanent pastures had 98 to 277 seeds per plot sample and 12 to 25 plant species. The number of species and seedlings in pasture seed banks changed little from 2007 to 2010. Hayfields, however, differed dramatically in seedling density. Alfalfa hayfields increased from fewer than 50 to more than 400 seeds per plot sample in 2010 mainly due to an invasion by Capsella bursa-pastoris. Pastures appeared to be more stable in seed bank dynamics than fields with a recent history of cultivation.