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Crop Science Abstract -

Growth Analysis of Alfalfa Subjected to Harvest Traffic


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1006-1011
    Received: Sept 11, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): rechel@mesa5.mesa.colorado.edu
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  1. E. A. Rechel  and
  2. T. J. Novotny
  1. D ep. of Biology
    D ep. of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics, Mesa State College, Grand Junction, CO 81502



Harvesting practices currently used in alfalfa (Medicago saliva L.) reduce yields by damaging regrowth. Understanding the extent these practices change the plant's physiology and its subsequent growth rate would aid in evaluating current management strategies and developing new ones. Our objective was to compare the growth characteristics of alfalfa trafficked during harvest with those of non-trafficked alfalfa. Growth analyses were conducted during two growth cycles in the second and third seasons of alfalfa production. Alfalfa subjected to several passes of a tractor at each harvest had a significantly higher leaf/stem ratio at the end of the growth cycle than non-trafficked alfalfa. A single linear equation was used to describe the positive relationship between relative growth rate and unit leaf rate for all treatments from three of the four harvest cycles examined. Trafficked alfalfa had a higher relative growth rate and unit leaf rate (P ≤ 0.05) during the middle of the growth cycle than non-trafficked alfalfa. This compensatory growth reflects a change in photosynthate partitioning between roots and shoots in plants subjected to traffic.

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