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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Moisture Use by Selected Forage Crops1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 6, p. 587-591
    Received: Feb 12, 1968

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  1. O. P. Cohen and
  2. E. Strickling2



Soil moisture measurements were made under alfalfa, tall rescue, and bermudagrass, receiving two levels of nitrogen fertilization, and bare fallow. The measurements were analyzed in order to determine the moisture use patterns of the various plants.

All species in this study used approximately the same amount of water during the growing season. Soil moisture loss continued at a nearly uniform rate until approximately 63.5 mm of moisture was used; subsequently, the rate of moisture loss decreased. The growth of the plants was curtailed even though water, in the available range, was present at a depth of 15.2 cm and below. In this experiment, bermudagrass receiving 450 kg of N per hectare produced more dry matter than bermudagrass receiving 112 kg of N per hectare with no significant difference in water consumption. After a rain which did not completely wet the soil profile, moisture was used throughout the whole root zone and not exclusively from the depth wetted by the rain.

The advantages ascribed to deep-rooted perennial crops with regard to moisture use were not apparent in this study.

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