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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Compatibility of Cicer Milkvetch in Mixtures with Cool-Season Grasses


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 82 No. 2, p. 262-266
    Received: June 16, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. C. E. Townsend ,
  2. H. Kenno and
  3. M. A. Brick
  1. Research Lab., USDA-ARS, 1701 Center Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80526



Cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) is a promising forage legume, but little information is axailable on its forage production potential, particularly in mixtures with grasses. The objectives of these studies were to: (i) determine the lcompatibility of irrigated cicer milkvetch (CMV) with seven clool-season grasses each planted in alternate rows, and (ii) compare the influence of three planting patterns on the compatibility of irrigated CMV with each of four cool-season grasses. The seven grass species used in the first study were: smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.), meadow bromegrass (B. biebersteinii Roem. and Schult.), crested wheatgrass [Agropyron cristatum (L.) Beauv. ssp. plectinatum (Bieb.) Tzvel.], intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host.) Barkworth & Dewey], pubescent wheatgrass [T. intermedium ssp. burbulatum (Schur.)], tall wheatgrass [T. elongatum (Host.) Dewey], and creeping foxtail (Alopecurus arundinaceus Poir.). The grasses used in the second study were smooth bromegrass, meadow bromegrass, intermediate wheatgrass, and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.). The soil was a Nunn clay loam (mesic Aridic Agriustoll). Tall wheatgrass did not persist beyond the second harvest year. There was little, if any, difference among the other six grasses for compatibility with CMV because by the sixth harvest year the amount of CMV in the mixtures ranged from 76 to 83%. By the third harvest year, the legume content of the forage for the three planting patterns was similar and ranged from about 80 to 90%. Once established, CMV was very competitive with all cool-season grasses and its forage yields alone and in grass mixtures were very similar to those of alfalfa.

Joint contribution of USDA-ARS and the Colorado Agric. Exp. Stn.

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