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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342343

Research Project: Integrated Forage Systems for Food and Energy Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Canopy development of annual legumes and forage sorghum intercrops and its impact on forage yield

Author
item Darapuneni, Murali - New Mexico State University
item Angadi, Sangamesh - New Mexico State University
item Umesh, Rangappa - University Of Agricultural Sciences
item Contreras-govea, Francisco - University Of Wisconsin
item (no Last Name), Annadurai - Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
item Begna, Sultan - New Mexico State University
item Marsalis, Mark - New Mexico State University
item Cole, Andy - Retired ARS Employee
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Hagevoort, Robert - New Mexico State University
item Lauriault, Leonard - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/24/2018
Publication Date: 3/15/2018
Citation: Darapuneni, M.K., Angadi, S.V., Umesh, R.M., Contreras-Govea, F.E., A.K., Begna, S.H., Marsalis, M.A., Cole, A.N., Gowda, P.H., Hagevoort, R.G., Lauriault, L.M. 2018. Canopy development of annual legumes and forage sorghum intercrops and its impact on forage yield. Agronomy Journal. 110:1-11. doi:10.2134/agronj2017.06.0301.

Interpretive Summary: While increase in the demand for high quality forage crops is common throughout arid and semi-arid regions of the world, water for irrigation is becoming more limited. Corn silage has been the preferred crop for dairy and beef cattle rations. However, forage sorghum is relatively more water stress tolerant but low in crude protein. In this study, different intercropping to systems were evaluated in northeastern New Mexico for their ability to intercept light for efficient biomass production while improving forage quality. Results indicated that light interception and Leaf Area Index increased in the intercropping systems with some legumes early in the season, while minimum effect was observed with others. Early canopy closure resulted from faster leaf area index development in all intercropping systems increased solar radiation absorption when compared to forage sorghum alone. This is helpful to producers to supplement the weaning cattle with enough forage production with higher quality early in the season.

Technical Abstract: Livestock production is the most important agro-industry in many semiarid regions of the world including the Southern High Plains, USA. Declining water for irrigation requires novel technologies to sustain forage production necessary for livestock production. The objective of this study was to study canopy development and light interception of intercropping systems including candidate legumes and forage sorghum (FS) [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. Field studies were conducted at New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Centers at Tucumcari and Clovis in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Five annual legumes were intercropped between two rows of sorghum spaced at 0.75 m and compared with sole sorghum under irrigated conditions. Results showed that intercropping legumes with sorghum increased LAI compared to sole sorghum at both locations. Intercropping legumes with sorghum resulted in faster canopy coverage and greater light interception early in the growing season compared to sole sorghum. In the study, lablab (Lablab purpureus L.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.), lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.) and pole bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) were found promising legumes to improve solar energy absorption in intercropping with sorghum. Results also showed that LAI was an accurate growth predictor of LI in all intercropping systems and sole sorghum (R220 >0.94). Overall, optimum LAI to achieve 90% LI was lower in all intercropping systems compared to sole sorghum. In general, dry matter yield at corresponding growth stages in both locations followed a similar trend in LAI development.