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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effects of Irrigation and Cutting Management on Yield and Botanical Composition of Selected Legume-Grass Mixtures1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 2, p. 181-184

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  1. C. Y. Ward,
  2. J. N. Jones,
  3. J. H. Lillard,
  4. J. E. Moody,
  5. R. H. Brown and
  6. R. E. Blaser2



The yield and botanical composition of three forage mixtures were influenced by supplemental irrigation. Response to irrigation was related to the rooting habits of the species used. Under the best cutting management treatments, the average annual yield increases due to irrigation were about 1.2, 3.2, and 3-4 T per acre on the alfalfa-orchardgrass, white clover-bluegrass, and ladinoorchardgrass mixtures, respectively. Maintaining soil moisture tension at or lower than 0.7 atm gave no increase in yield compared with 2 atm tension, except in the white clover-bluegrass mixture where the increase was 0.3 to 0.6 T per acre.

The effects of irrigation were similar under all cutting managements for the clover-grass mixtures. The beneficial effect of irrigation on alfalfa-orchardgrass decreased as cutting frequency increased. Irrigation increased yields of this mixture by about 1.2 T per acre when cut four times annually, but there was no increase when it was cut six times. The combination of supplemental irrigation and frequent cutting reduced the percentage of alfalfa in the stand.

Clover was maintained in the grass stands by supplemental irrigation, but disappeared in unirrigated plots. Allowing grass to grow taller, or cutting to a higher stubble height, reduced the amount of clover in the irrigated orchardgrass and bluegrass stands.

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