Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Six annual legumes were evaluated as components of cereal-grass-legume intercrops in two experiments at two sites differing in elevation by 789 m. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and Westerwolds rye-grass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) were seeded on all intercrop plots. Dry-matter (DM) yield, crude protein (CP) and organic matter digestibility (OMD) were measured. DM yield and N content were used to estimate legume N fixation. Experiment 1 was conducted at both sites. At the lower site, Persian clover (Trifolium resupinatum L.) and annual alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) accounted for 70% of the DM yield in harvest 1 (July), increased CP and OMD, but did not affect intercrop yield. They increased harvest 2 (August/September) intercrop yield by 263% and CP concentration by 65 g kg−1 DM. They increased harvest 3 (October) yield by 275% and CP concentration by 78 g kg−1 DM. Inclusion of striate lespedeza (Lespedeza striata) did not affect intercrop yield or quality. Annual legumes failed to establish at the higher elevation site and therefore had no effect on DM yield or forage quality. In Experiment 2, in which the performance of Westerwolds ryegrass was also compared with that of Italian ryegrass, and conducted at the lower site only, Persian clover and berseem clover (T. alexandrinum L.) increased CP of all three of the year's harvests. These two species contributed 29% of the DM yield in the first harvest (July) but did not affect total intercrop yield. They increased harvest 2 (August) yield by 313%. Persian clover increased harvest 3 (October) yield by 318% and berseem clover increased harvest 3 yield by 405%. Barrel medic (Medicago truncatula) and snail medic (M. scutellata) contributed 29% of harvest 1 yield, and increased both DM yield and CP content. Medics did not regrow. Aubade Westerwolds ryegrass contributed a greater percentage of the DM yield than did Maris Ledger Italian ryegrass at harvests 1 and 2. Ryegrass type did not affect total DM yield but did affect forage quality; intercrops containing the Italian ryegrass had higher CP at harvest 2 and higher OMD at harvest 3 than those containing the Westerwolds ryegrass. Over both experiments, at the lower elevation site, stands with Persian clover, berseem clover or alfalfa produced 80% of the yield of barley-ryegrass receiving 250 kg N ha−1, and 165% of the yield of unfertilized barley-ryegrass. Berseem and Persian clover fixed about the same amount of N over the growing season; 188 kg N ha−1 in Experiment 1 and 134 kg N ha−1 in Experiment 2.
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