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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 2, p. 290-292
    Received: July 27, 1972

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Autumn Cutting Effects on Alfalfa Yield and Persistence in Alabama1

  1. D. A. Mays and
  2. E. M. Evans2



The research described herein was conducted to test the hypothesis that alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) can be cut in September or early October in the southern United States without detrimental effects.

‘Williamsburg’ and ‘Dupuits’ alfalfa were planted at Muscle Shoals, Ala., in September 1963. From 1964 through 1966, 10 fall cutting regimes were imposed on the alfalfa. In 1967 residual yields were taken and stand densities were determined. Root carbohydrate analyses were made at the last autumn harvest and at 2-week intervals until mid-December each yeax.

Autumn cutting treatments had a greater effect on subsequent first harvest than on total yields. Total yields and stand density in 1967 showed that Williamsburg was quite tolerant to all cutting schedules and could safely be harvested in September or early October. The best yields and persistence of Dupuits were obtained where no fourth cut was taken. Date of third cut and consequent interval differences between the third and last cut affected subsequent growth and persistence of both varieties.

Root carbohydrate levels were slightly depressed for 2 to 4 weeks following harvest. However, the magnitude of fluctuation was much less than is usually reported. Carbohydrate levels did not drop from mid-December to mid-March.

It was concluded that a well-adapted alfalfa variety could tolerate a wide range of fall managements in the climate typified by north Alabama.

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