Herbage and Seed Production of Annual Lespedezas as Affected by Harvest Management
- David K. Davis,
- Robert L. McGraw and
- Paul R. Beuselinck
Striate [Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindler] and korean [K. stipulacea (Maxim.) Maidno] annual tespedezas are warm-season forage legumes grown throughout the southeastern USA for pasture, hay, or seed. They provide high quality herbage during midsummer, when grasses often have poor quality. Limited information is available on harvest management for herbage and seed yield of annual lespedezas. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of cutting height and frequency on herbage production and seed yield of striate and korean annual lespedeza. Two field experiments were performed. The first determined the effects of a one- or two-harvest management system and cutting initially at either 6 or 12 cm above the soil surface on herbage and seed yields. The second experiment was a growth analysis of lespedeza on plots not cut or cut at either 6 or 12 cm above the soil. Maximum herbage accumulation occurred for both species during late August, at ≈ 30% bloom. Harvesting in late August in the one-harvest management system, yielded more total herbage than harvesting in July and October in the two-harvest management system. Maximum seed yields were obtained when Marion and Summit were harvested only once in October (1115 kg ha−1 and 751 kg ha−1 of seed, respectively). Cutting height affected Summit more than Marion. Cutting Summit at a stubble height of 6 cm in July reduced both regrowth herbage and seed yields more than cutting at 12 CA. Marion regrowth herbage and seed yields were unaffected by initial cutting height. Growth habit differences between Marion and Summit were probably responsible for differences in response to cutting height. Marion is more prostrate than Summit and thus had more herbage below the cutting height after harvest to provide energy for regrowth.
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