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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Fall Harvest Management Effects on ‘Grasslands Matua’ Prairie Grass Quality


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 88 No. 6, p. 971-975
    Received: Oct 16, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): mhh2@psuvm.psu.edu
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  1. Marvin H. Hall ,
  2. Gerald A. Jung,
  3. John A. Shaffer and
  4. John R. Everhart
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, 116 A.S.I. Bldg, The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802



Forage production of ‘Grasslands Matua’ prairie grass [Bromus catharticus M. Vahl; syn. B. unioloides Kunth, B. willdenowii Kunth] (Matua, for short) during the fall months is excellent, but highly management dependent. Unfortunately, fall harvest management effects on the quality of this grass are relatively unknown. Our objectives were to determine the effects of fall harvest management on forage quality of Matua prairie grass during the fall and following spring. Two field experiments were conducted on Hagerstown silt loam soil (fine, mixed, mesic Typic Hapludalfs). Experiment 1 addressed date of fall harvest and residual stubble height; Experiment 2 addressed frequency of fall harvest and residual stubble height effects on forage quality in the fall and spring. Delaying fall harvest of Matua prairie grass caused forage crude protein (CP) content to decline by about 30%; however, delaying fall harvest had no or little effect on acid-detergent fiber (ADF), neutral-detergent fiber (NDF), or in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD). Grasslands Matua quality in the spring was unaffected or inconsistently affected by fall harvest management. Delaying harvest of Matua prairie grass in the spring reduced forage quality but not to the extent reported for other cool-season forage grasses. Our findings indicate that Matua offers considerable latitude in fall and spring harvest management with regards to obtaining quality forage; however, these finding should be considered along with previous findings that fall harvest management has a large effect on winter survival of Matua.

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