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Alfalfa Establishment, Performance, and Persistence in Mississippi When Planted into a Bermudagrass Sward

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2015.613224    2,977 Downloads   3,232 Views  

ABSTRACT

Alfalfa is a high quality forage that is not often utilized in the southeastern United States because of its perceived lack of adaptability to the area. However, the risk of growing alfalfa could be partially mitigated by its inclusion into an existing bermudagrass system that makes up a large portion of pastures and hay fields in Mississippi. Alfalfa was planted into an existing bermudagrass hay field at a rate of 17, 22, 28 and 39 kg·ha-1 in no-till and minimum till sod preparation and analyzed for three growing seasons. Tillage did not affect any of the variables observed but seeding rate and time affected DM (dry matter) yield, forage nutritive value and plot composition. The increasing alfalfa seeding rate increased alfalfa yield in the plot but this was isolated to only the first year. Dry matter yields decreased over the three years due to the decrease in alfalfa composition, but throughout the growing season DM yields increased after the first year suggesting bermudagrass recolonization within the plot. Forage nutritive value was positively affected with as little as 20% of the plot composed of alfalfa suggesting that even thinning stands by the third year might offer economic advantages.

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White, J. and Lemus, R. (2015) Alfalfa Establishment, Performance, and Persistence in Mississippi When Planted into a Bermudagrass Sward. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 2220-2226. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.613224.

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