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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 4, p. 946-950
    Received: June 15, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): drowe@ars.usda.gov
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Winter Cover Crop and Management Effects on Summer and Annual Nutrient Yields

  1. Dennis E. Rowe *a,
  2. Timothy E. Fairbrothera and
  3. Karamat A. Sistanib
  1. a USDA-ARS, Waste Management and Forage Research Unit, 810 Highway 12 East, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5367
    b USDA-ARS, Animal Waste Management, Bowling Green, KY


Effluent from a swine (Sus scrofa domesticus) lagoon is often applied repeatedly to nearby fields because of logistical constraints and costs of transportation. To minimize accumulation of soil nutrients and sustain use of spray field, best management practices must maximize the rates of removal of manure nutrients. Research determined summer hay and nutrient yields of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] following winter cover crops ‘Kenland’ red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), ‘Bigbee’ berseem clover (T. alexandrinum L.), or ‘Marshall’ annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) subjected to five harvesting systems. Also, summer and winter forage yields were combined and analyzed to find best annual performance. Nutrient yields of bermudagrass were statistically affected by winter cover crop species and harvest date. Summer production was maximized following berseem clover harvested on a two-harvest-day system of 15 May and 1 June. Harvesting the winter cover crop in addition to the bermudagrass increased extraction of N (82%), P (76%), K (90%), Mg (95%), Mn (67%), Ca (158%), Fe (80%), Zn (83%), and Cu (97%). For environmentally sensitive nutrients N, P, Cu, and Zn, annual yields were maximized with a two-harvest-day system of 15 April and 1 June of a cover crop, which was not the best harvest system for either the winter or the summer trials in isolation. Tests on summer performance and winter performance in isolation were informative and did indicate the best winter cover crop species, berseem clover, but did not indicate the best management system for annual production.

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