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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389874

Research Project: Managing Water Availability and Quality for Sustainable Agricultural Production and Conservation of Natural Resources in Humid Regions

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Incorporating perennial forages into southern row cropping systems

item Billman, Eric
item Campbell, Benjamin - Todd
item REAY-JONES, FRANCIS - Clemson University
item Sigua, Gilbert

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2021
Publication Date: 1/17/2022
Citation: Billman, E.D., Campbell, B.T., Reay-Jones, F.P., Sigua, G.C. 2022. Incorporating perennial forages into southern row cropping systems. Meeting Abstract. ..

Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only.

Technical Abstract: Cool-season forage production in the southeastern US is dominated by annual species, requiring yearly costs for establishment. Perennials could reduce costs, but require new management practices to be harmonize with row crop production. This study evaluated the efficacy of incorporating regionally adapted cool-season perennial forages into a southeastern cotton production system. A 4×4 Latin square consisting of 1) unplanted fallow, 2) annual ryegrass (‘DH-3’), 3) 50/50 red (‘Southern Belle’) and white clover (‘Will Ladino’) mixture, and 4) 33/33/33 annual ryegrass, red, and white clover mixture were established near Florence, SC in October 2020. Plots were then strip tilled and planted with cotton in mid-May 2021. Stand counts, weed control, and spring forage mass were assessed from February – April, while clover persistence and weedy biomass were assessed from July – October. During spring, ryegrass treatments had the greatest forage mass (>5,000 lbs/acre) compared to the 50/50 clover mixture (2,000 lbs/acre). During summer, treatments with clover had the lowest biomass (< 3,000 lbs/acre), compared to the fallow and ryegrass treatments (> 4,000 lbs/acre). Both red and white clover stands declined from spring to summer, but held steady through cotton harvest at 3 and 10 plants/square foot, respectively. These first-year results indicated that perennial clovers can reduce weed pressure and persist over a full growing season in the Southeast without reducing cotton yield.