Mineral Concentrations in Alfalfa and Sainfoin as Influenced by Soil Moisture Level
- S. P. Kidambi,
- A. G. Matches and
- T. P. Bolger
Information on the influence of soil moisture on mineral concentrations and their associative relationships, is limited in alfalfa (Medicago saliva L.) and is lacking in sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.). The objectives of our study were to determine the influence of soil moisture level on (i) the concentrations of Ca, Mg, K, P, Cu, Zn, and Ca/P ratio, and (ii) the magnitude and relationship of correlation coefficients among mineral concentrations and the Ca/P ratio in alfalfa and sainfoin. Both ‘Renumex’ sainfoin and ‘Cimarron’ alfalfa were seeded in rows on an Acuft loam (fine-loamy, mixed thermic Aridic Paleustalf) soil, under a line-source irrigation system. Alfalfa and sainfoin were harvested six and four times during 1986, and six and five times during 1987, respectively. There was an increase in the concentrations of Ca, Mg, and Zn in both species, and P in alfalfa with decreasing soil moisture supply. Sainfoin had approximately 0.3 g kg−1 higher Mg and P concentrations than alfalfa, but lower concentrations of Ca and K (1.9 and 8.5 g kg−1 lower, respectively). Both species had a similar Ca/P ratio (approx. 3.3:1). Alfalfa had 2.35 mg kg−1 higher Cu and 1.95 mg kg−1 lower Zn concentrations than sainfoin. There was little influence of soil moisture level on the direction or magnitude of the correlation coefficients among the minerals in both species. Our results indicated that soil moisture level affected the mineral concentrations but not the relationships among minerals in the forage of alfalfa and sainfoin.
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