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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 1, p. 81-83
     
    Received: Apr 27, 1979


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doi:10.2134/agronj1979.00021962007100010020x

Evaluation of Legume Mixtures for Hay Plantings1

  1. Clee S. Cooper2

Abstract

Abstract

Numerous studies have been conducted with grasslegume mixtures for hay and pasture production but few studies have been conducted with legume mixtures. Legume mixtures may be of value in forage production because nonbloating legumes planted with bloating legumes may lessen bloat hazard. Legume mixtures may also be advantageous for use in special purpose mixtures, such as those used for haystockpiling management regimes. We evaluated legume mixtures for irrigated hay production over a 4-year period in comparison with legumes grown alone. Plantings were made into a Bozeman silt loam (Argic-Pachic Cryoboroll) soil. Legumes evaluated were sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), cicer milkvetch (Astragulus cicer L.), alfalfa (Medicogo sativa L.), and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.). Legumes were seeded in 30-cm row spacings on 1.2 ✕ 6.1 m plots. Legumes in mixtures were seeded in alternate rows. Herbage was harvested twice each year as hay.

Highest yield for the 4-year period was 36.61 tons/ha for the sainfoin-birdsfoot trefoil mixture and lowest yield was 26.54 tons/ha for cicer milkvetch grown alone. Yields of other Iegumes grown alone or in mixtures were intermediate. Mixing other legumes with cicer milkvetch increased yields above those obtained with this species grown alone. The contribution of each legume to a mixture was dependent upon the competitiveness of the legume associate. A sainfoin-alfalfa mixture yield was similar to that for each species grown alone. The merits of growing legume mixtures is discussed.

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