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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386493

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: The effects of seeding rates and intercropping sunn hemp with forage sorghum on forage quality

item Mosqueda, Haley
item BLASER, BROCK - West Texas A & M University
item O`Shaughnessy, Susan
item RHOADES, MARTY - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2021
Publication Date: 11/9/2021
Citation: Mosqueda, H.M., Blaser, B., O'Shaughnessy, S.A., Rhoades, M. 2021. The effects of seeding rates and intercropping sunn hemp with forage sorghum on forage quality [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA-International Meeting, November 7-10, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Paper No. 137067.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Texas High Plains region is primarily known for the production of grain and forage crops for cattle feed. The main water source for producers in this region is the Ogallala Aquifer, and it is being depleted too rapidly to replenish. It is becoming increasingly important to improve crop water use efficiency in crops grown in the region, and it is equally as important to determine alternative crops that provide optimal nutrition to cattle and are drought and heat tolerant. Forage grasses provide less than adequate amounts of protein and other necessary nutrients for livestock, so additional feed must be included in their diets. By intercropping a forage legume such as sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) with forage sorghum, crude protein may be increased. However, the level of increase is not documented and the optimal intercrop seeding ratio of sunn hemp to sorghum is unknown. In 2020 and 2021, a field experiment was conducted using sunn hemp intercropped at three seeding rates (16.8, 33.6, and 50.4 kg/ha) with forage sorghum at four seeding rates (0, 2.8, 5.6, and 11.2 kg/ha) under drip irrigation. Initial results from 2020 showed the greatest dry matter production (21.26 and 20.87 Mg/ha) occurred in plots with 16.8 and 33.6 kg/ha sunn hemp intercropped with 11.2 kg/ha forage sorghum. These results demonstrate potential for this intercrop as forage sorghum requires less water than corn silage while the inclusion of sunn hemp provides early ground cover that could further reduce soil water evaporation.