Effects of Alfalfa Proportions and Clipping Frequencies on Timothy-Alfalfa Mixtures. I. Competition and Yield Advantages1
- T. C. Ta and
- M. A. Faris2
Growing legumes in mixture with grasses has been of great interest to improve herbage production. The productivity of timothy- (Phleum pratense L.) alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) mixtures at two plant density proportions (1:1 and 1:2) was compared with their component species grown in pure stands in the field (Manotick sandy loam soil, Typic Dystrochrett). In 1984 and 1985, the plots were harvested at the early, mid-, and late-bloom stages of alfalfa, which resulted in five, four, and three cuts per year, respectively. Results indicated that mix-cropping timothy with alfalfa significantly increased both herbage and N concentration when compared to timothy grown in a pure stand. The magnitude of this increase correlated positively with the alfalfa proportion in the mixture. Although timothy had a dominant competitive ability over alfalfa in the first year (competitive ratio > 1), the situation was reversed in the second year at the higher alfalfa proportion. The land equivalent ratio of mixtures was always > 1 at different cuts under three harvest systems in both years, indicating the advantage of a timothy-alfalfa mixture over a timothy pure stand, for herbage production. There was an indication that harvesting mixtures when alfalfa reached mid-bloom (four cuts) increased total herbage and N concentration in both species when compared to harvesting at early (five cuts) or late (three cuts) bloom. Growing timothy in mixture at a high plant density-proportion of alfalfa and harvesting when alfalfa reaches mid-bloom stage provides high herbage and N yields of pasture.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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