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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 5, p. 769-772
    Received: Apr 14, 1983

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Yield and Quality of ‘Caucasian’ and ‘Plains’ Bluestem Grasses as Affected by Clipping Interval1

  1. C. M. Taliaferro,
  2. F. P. Horn,
  3. R. M. Ahring and
  4. D. L. Weeks2



Use of introduced bluestems (Bothriochloa spp.) as pasture grasses in the southern Great Plains is increasing. Information is limited on the effects of management variables on the yield and quality of their forage. This field experiment was conducted on Pachic Paleustoll soil for 3 years (1974 to 1976), in order to assess the relative yield and quality of forage and stand persistence of the ‘Plains’ [B. ischaemum (L.) Keng. var. ischaemum] and ‘Caucasian’ [B. caucasica (Trin.) C. E. Hubb.] cvs. as affected by different clipping intervals (3, 5, 7,9, or 11 weeks between clippings). Cultivars were randomly assigned to whole plots and clipping intervals to subplots in a split-plot, randomized complete block experiment. Significant differences due to cultivars were measured only in 1974 for dry matter (DM) and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) yields and in 1975 and 1976 for percent in vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD). The difference in 3-year IVDMD of the cultivars (Plains = 60.1, Caucasian = 57.3) was also significant. Intervals between clippings affected DM and FVDDM yields and IVDMD each year. The DM and IVDDM yields increased as harvest interval increased from 3 to 7 weeks, where they generally peaked, but there was significant kick of fit to quadratic responses for DM and IVDDM yield in 2 of the 3 years. The IVDMD of the cultivars decreased linearly in 1974 and 1975 as clipping interval decreased. In 1976, the IVDMD response of the cultivars was different and deviated significantly from quadratic. The data suggest that the basic responses of Plains and Caucasian bluestem to clipping interval are characteristic of the responses of most forages. The length of the interval between harvests at which digestible dry matter will be maximized in a given year will vary with environmental conditions but probably would seldom exceed 7 weeks. Clipping interval had no effect on subsequent spring DM yield of the Caucasian cultivar but there was some reduction in first harvest DM yield of Plains due to frequent clipping during the previous season.

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