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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Mono and Mixed Culture of Tall Fescue and Birdsfoot Trefoil on Yield and Quality


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 84 No. 2, p. 133-137
    Received: Feb 15, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. P. R. Beuselinck ,
  2. D. A. Sleper,
  3. S. S. Bughrara and
  4. C. A. Roberts
  1. USDA-ARS, Plant Genetics Research Unit



Growth habit of grass and legume cultivars may affect their competitiveness, yield, and herbage quality in grass-legume mixes. The objective of this research was to examine herbage yield and quality of mixed cultures of tall fescue (Festucu urundinacea Shreb.) genotypes and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) cultivars with contrasting growth habits. High (HLAER) and low (LLAER) leaf-area-expansion-rate tall fescue populations and prostrate (‘Dawn’) and upright (‘Viking’) birdsfoot trefoil cultivars were used. Eight treatments comprising monocultures of the four entries (HLAER, LLAER, Dawn, Viking) and 1:l mixed cultures of each possible interspecific combination of the entries were transplanted into field plots in June 1983 and harvested at a 3- or 6-wk frequency in 1984 and 1985. Mixed cultures were hand-separated into tall fescue and birdsfoot trefoil components prior to drying. Herbage dry weight (DWT), in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) were measured. Mixtures of tall fescue and birdsfoot trefoil were moderately compatible regardless of growth form of species. When grown in mixed cultures, yield of tall fescue and birdsfoot trefoil was reduced by interspecific competition. Growth form of either species did not appear to affect DWT of mixed cultures. Herbage yield of tall fescue and birdsfoot trefoil was influenced by harvest frequency. Yield and quality of tall fescue-birdsfoot trefoil mixed cultures can be greater than monocultured tall fescue.

Contribution from the Missouri Agric. Exp. Stn. Journal Series. no. 11355.

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