Yield and Botanical Composition of Alfalfa-Bermudagrass Mixtures
The regions of adaptation of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.) overlap in the southeastern USA, but the compatibility of these species in a mixture has not been described. Two field experiments were conducted to compare the yield and botanical composition of alfalfa-bermudagrass mixtures with each species grown alone. In the first experiment ‘Apollo’ alfalfa was grown alone and in mixtures with ‘Tifton 44’ bermudagrass fertilized with 0 and 100 kg N ha−1, and compared with bermudagrass fertilized with N at rates of 100, 300, and 500 kg ha−1. In a second experiment Apollo alfalfa was grown alone in 15-cm rows and in 15- and 30-cm rows in mixtures with ‘Coastal’ bermudagrass. Bermudagrass was also grown alone and fertilized with 100, 200, and 300 kg of N ha−1. Yields of the alfalfa-bermudagrass mixtures averaged 9.7 Mg ha−1 over both experiments and were similar to alfalfa alone (9.2 Mg ha−1). The mixtures also were similar in yield to bermudagrass fertilized with 200 kg N ha ' in the second experiment (11.2 Mg ha−1) and between yields of bermudagrass receiving 100 and 300 kg N ha−1 in the first experiment. Alfalfa dominated the mixture in both experiments comprising 100% of the forage in the spring harvests, except for the establishment year in the first experiment. The lowest percentage of alfalfa was in August when in 1 yr it reached 53%. Neither N fertilization nor row spacing of the alfalfa affected yield or botanical composition of the mixture.
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