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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 77 No. 6, p. 901-905
    Received: May 3, 1984

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Effects of Sod-Seeding Legumes on Hill Land Pasture Productivity and Composition1

  1. W. B. Bryan2



Production and quality of hill land pasture may be improved by introducing a legume. Sod-seeding is used extensively to introduce legumes into grassland, but little work has been reported for hill land pasture. Two identical experiments were conducted to determine the productivity and composition of hill land pasture when sod-seeded with red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.). The effects of sod-seeding date (spring or fall), soil amendment (lime and P), herbicides, and insecticide on hill land herbage dry matter (DM) accumulation and botanical composition were examined. The experiments were carried out in permanent hill land pastures consisting mostly of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), meadow fescue (Festuca elatior L.), redtop (Agrostis alba L.), white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and herbaceous broadleaf plants. The soil (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Typic Fragiudalfs) had an initial pH of 4.8 (Experiment I) and 5.3 (Experiment II) with medium P and high K. Experiment I started in 1978 and experiment II in 1979. Both continued for 4 yr. Pasture composition and herbage accumulation were estimated in mid-June, late July, and late September each year. In Experiment I herbage accumulation increased in the order: no amendment < legumes and P = lime and P < legumes, lime, and P < lime, P, and N. Pasture with no amendment was 50% as productive as sod-seeded pasture (legumes, lime, and P). Nitrogen at 168 kg ha−1 yr−1 increased yearly herbage accumulation 20 to 120% compared to sod-seeding. Results in Experiment II were similar except in the first year when sod-seeded pasture produced 30% less than control pasture because paraquat (l,l-dimethyl-4,4'-bipyridinium ion) application resulted in a herbage loss in June. Pasture sod-seeded with red clover (RC) produced 20 to 25% more than pasture sod-seeded with birdsfoot trefoil (BFT) only in year 1 (Experiment I) and year 2 (Experiment II). Spring was the best time to sod-seed RC and fall for BFT. In Experiment II, lime had no effect on percentage total legume in the pasture, but in experiment I lime increased percentage total legume. Herbicide, method of herbicide application, and insecticide had small and transitory effects on pasture production and percentage total legume.

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