Yield and Persistence of Several Legumes Growing in Tall Fescue
- James W. Dobson,
- C. D. Fisher and
- E. R. Beaty2
Despite two decades of use of nitrogen fertilizer to grass pastures, the rising cost of N and the introduction of new legumes and cultivars is cause for a reappraisal of grass-legume mixtures for pastures in the South. The objective of this study was to evaluate new legume species and cultivars under two simulated grazing pressures. Information on production and clipping tolerance of these new legumes and cultivars is needed to plan management for production and persistence.
In the fall of 1970 tall fescue cultivar ‘Ky 31’ (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) was seeded alone or with each of 10 legumes. During the summer of 1971 and 1972 plots were harvested monthly at heights of 5 and 10 cm. In 1973 only four harvests were made as compared to six for each of the first 2 years. Milkvetch (Astragalus cicer, L.) failed to persist in association with fescue and produced little more than fescue alone. Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), produced high yields but persistence was short. Crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), and white clover (Trifolium repens L.) persisted well and significantly increased forage yields. The newer cultivars tended to be significantly higher yielding than the old ones. The crownvetches, red and white clovers, and birdsfoot trefoils were tolerant to heavy defoliation and increased forage yields. The use of these legumes in forage programs appeared to be highly desirable.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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