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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Production of Six Tropical Legumes Each in Combination with Three Tropical Grasses in Florida1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 6, p. 890-892
    Received: Feb 3, 1973

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  1. Albert E. Kretschmer Jr.,
  2. J. B. Brolmann,
  3. G. H. Snyder and
  4. G. J. Gascho2



Summer production of permanent grass pasture in southern Florida varies depending on the quantity of fertilizer N applied. Generally, commercial production is excessive even ,with minimum applications of N. Crude protein contents, however, are low because of rapid grass growth and concomitant dilution of the N. Because white clover (Trifolium repens L.) or other temperate legumes do not grow during the summer, an alternative possibility for increasing pasture quality is the inclusion of tropical legumes in permanent grass pastures.

A small-plot clipping experiment was designed to compare various tropical grass-legume mixtures with grasses grown alone and receiving different rates of N fertilization. Comparisons were based on dry matter and crude protein yields and percentages.

Each of the following legumes, Stylosanthes humilis HBK., Indigofera hirsuta Linn., ‘Hairy Indigo;’ Phaseolus atropurpureus DC., ‘Siratro;’ Desmodium intortum (Mill.) Urb., ‘Greenleaf;’ D. heterocarpen (Linn.) DC.; and Glycine wightii Willd., ‘Clarence,’ was grown in combination with Digitaria decumbens Stent., ‘Pangola’ digitgrass; Paspalum notatum Flugge., ‘Pensacola’ bahiagrass; and Setaria anceps Stapf., ‘Nandi.’

Yields and N contents are reported for a 2-year period. Setaria-legume combinations generally were inferior to those of other grass-legume mixtures. D. intortum-grass mixtures produced 12,430 kg/ha of dry matter annually compared with 9,400 for Pangola and 5,740 for bahiagrass growing alone and fertilized with 126 kg/ha per year. Crude protein contents of harvested mixtures were higher than those for grasses alone that received N at the rate of 126 kg/ha.

Crude protein yields of D. intortum-Pangola mixtures were about three and a half times those for Pangola and five times those for bahia alone with the 126 kg/ha N rate. Average dry matter yield of the S. humilis-grass mixtures was equal to those for average Siratro- and D. heterocarpon-pon-grass mixtures, but crude protein yield of S. humilis mixtures was less. Dry matter and crude protein yields of I. hirsuta and G. wightii mixtures were consistently less than those of other legume mixtures.

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