Effects of Variety, Seeding Rate, Companion Species, and Cutting Schedule on Crownvetch Yield1
- D. A. Mays and
- E. M. Evans2
Crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.) has previously been used for erosion control at several southern locations, but little or nothing was known of its productivity under intensive management or its competitive ability in mixtures with grasses of the region. At present seed prices the recommended seeding rate of 20 kg/ha or more would make establishment costs prohibitive.
With the increasing interest in crownvetch as a forage, it was necessary to learn whether it is adapted for intensive management in the South either alone or in mixtures and to show that establishment costs could be reduced by use of lower seeding rates.
‘Penngift,’ ‘Chemung,’ and ‘Emerald’ varieties of crownvetch were seeded at Muscle Shoals, Ala., at rates of 5.6, 11.2, and 22.4 kg/ha in pure stands. At the same time, Penngift was seeded at 2.8, 5.6, and 11.2 kg/ha with orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), tall fescue (Festuca elatior), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)
Data from the pure stands indicated that there were no significant yield differences attributable to variety or seeding rate over a 2-year period. New treatments were then assigned and the three varieties were subjected to two, three, or four cuttings annually. Four cuttings resulted in significantly less forage yield than two or three cuttings and caused severe stand loss after 2 years.
The presence of alfalfa in the seeding mixture depressed crownvetch establishment and long-term yields. Mixtures with fescue or orchardgrass produced more total forage than crownvetch alone in 2 out of 4 years. A good legume-grass mixture was maintained for 3 years, but there were severe crownvetch stand losses by the 4th year.
It was concluded that crownvetch is not adapted for intensive use as a forage plant in the South, although it seems well adapted for use as an infrequently cut ground cover.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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