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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 3, p. 781-787
     
    Received: Aug 26, 2005


    * Corresponding author(s): kaalbrec@wisc.edu
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doi:10.2134/agronj2005.0248

Spring Yield and Silage Characteristics of Kura Clover, Winter Wheat, and in Mixtures

  1. Francisco E. Contreras-Goveaa,
  2. Kenneth A. Albrecht *a and
  3. Richard E. Muckb
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, 1575 Linden Dr., Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
    b USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706

Abstract

Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.) grown in monoculture is difficult to harvest mechanically because of its decumbent growth habit, and legumes in general have poor ensiling characteristics. Our objectives were to assess forage yield, nutritive value, and silage characteristics of kura clover–winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) mixtures to determine usefulness as a silage crop. ‘Cardinal’ winter wheat was sown in monoculture and into an ‘Endura’ kura clover sward in autumn at two locations and in 2 yr, and harvested at wheat boot and milk stages the following spring. Sole kura clover was harvested at the same time as winter wheat and mixtures. In addition, two mixtures of kura clover with winter wheat were created at each harvest by blending desired proportions from crops grown in monoculture. The mixture of kura clover with winter wheat yielded 7.4 Mg dry matter (DM) ha−1 while sole kura clover yielded 3.4 Mg DM ha−1 and sole winter wheat 9.05 Mg DM ha−1 However, kura clover yield in the binary mixture was similar to sole kura clover. Neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber concentrations were lower in kura clover than winter wheat and intermediate in mixtures. Fermented mixtures had similar pH to sole winter wheat (pH 3.8) and lower than sole kura clover (pH 4.1). The proportion of total N recovered as nonprotein N in silage was 9% lower in kura clover and in mixtures than in winter wheat. Water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations of wilted forage were higher in mixtures than sole kura clover (157 vs. 105 g kg−1 DM), and mixtures had lower WSC than sole winter wheat (198 g kg−1 DM). Lactate concentration was 13% higher in silage from mixtures than sole kura clover. Spring forage production of kura clover–winter wheat mixtures was greater than sole kura clover, possessed adequate nutritive value for high-producing livestock, and mixture silage characteristics were better than sole kura clover.

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