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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Productivity and Quality of Bermudagrass in a Cool Temperate Environment


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 83 No. 5, p. 810-813
    Received: June 4, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D. P. Belesky ,
  2. H. D. Perry,
  3. W. R. Windham,
  4. E. L. Mathias and
  5. J. M. Fedders
  1. U SDA-ARS, Richard Russell Res. Center Athens, GA 30613
    U SDA-ARS, Appalachian Soil and Water Conserv. Res. Lab., Beckley, WV 25802



In temperate environments a warm-season species is needed to provide forage during summer when the growth rate of cool-season forages is low. Managemenit data for warm-season pasture is limited for the Appalachian region. A bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] selection RS1, has been identified which is capable of growth and persistence in areas where other cultivars of the species winterkill. A field study wns conducted to determine RS1 bermudagrass productivity and qualify as affected by a split application of 60,120, 240, or 360 kg N ha−1 and a 2-, 4-, or 6-wk delay of initial harvest on a fine-loamy, mixed, mesic, Typic Hapludult (Gilpin) soil. Treatments were replicated folu times in the field, and the study was conducted for 2 yr. Delaying initial harvest significantly increased yield in both years to more than 8 Mg ha−1 when 360 kg N ha−1 yr−1 was applied. Herbage yields typically ranged between 3 and 6 Mg ha−1 and would contribute substantially to forage requirements in mid-summer in the region. Increased N resulted in higher herbage yield regardless of harvest delay regime. Herbage yields were about 25% less in 1989 than in 1988 and could be due in part to cool and wet conditions in 1989, compared to a hot, dry 1988 growing season. Bermudagrass in vitro dry matter digestibility and crude protein declined with delayed initial harvest (maturity), increased following the mid-season N application, and continued to decline into late summer. Season average quality was not affected by initial harvest delay. Bermudagrass (RS1) will persist and respond to N fertilizer and defoliation management in cool, temperate environments and promises to be a useful component in forage-based animal production systems in the region

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