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  1. Vol. 46 No. 1, p. 330-336
     
    Received: Feb 7, 2005
    Published: Jan, 2006


    * Corresponding author(s): lmlaur@nmsu.edu
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2005.0126

Performance of Irrigated Tall Fescue–Legume Communities under Two Grazing Frequencies in the Southern Rocky Mountains, USA

  1. Leonard M. Lauriault *a,
  2. Steven J. Guldanb,
  3. Charles A. Martinb and
  4. Dawn M. VanLeeuwenc
  1. a Tucumcari Agric. Sci. Ctr., New Mexico State Univ., 6502 Quay Road AM.5, Tucumcari, NM 88401
    b Alcalde Sustainable Agric. Sci. Ctr., New Mexico State Univ., P.O. Box 159, Alcalde, NM 87511
    c Dep. of Agricultural and Extension Education, Agricultural Biometrics Service, New Mexico State Univ., P.O. Box 30003 MSC 3501, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003

Abstract

Irrigated pastures form a significant component of agriculture in the irrigated steppe of the southern Rocky Mountains, USA. Information is limited, however, describing performance of grazed binary perennial cool-season grass–legume mixtures in the region. Established monoculture tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb. = Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire] + 134 kg N ha−1 (MONO) and tall fescue mixed with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (ALF/TF), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) (BFT/TF), cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) (CM/TF), or kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M.B.) (KC/TF) at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde were subjected to two grazing frequencies (grazed monthly or bimonthly mid-May to mid-September) from 1998 to 2000. Grass, legume, and combined dry matter (DM) yields were measured in May 1998 to 2001. A year × grazing frequency × pasture interaction for legume DM yield was moderated by a lack of effect in grass DM yield, leaving a year × pasture interaction for combined DM yield in which MONO, ALF/TF, and CM/TF increased linearly across years and cubic trends were exhibited by ALF/TF and KC/TF. Despite the cubic trend of KC/TF, it and BFT/TF had the most uniform yield distribution across years because of nonsignificant linear effects. Annual combined DM yield averaged 2.21, 3.90, 2.43, 1.93, and 3.03 Mg ha−1 for MONO, ALF/TF, BFT/TF, CM/TF, and KC/TF, respectively, from 1998 to 2001 (5% LSD = 0.77). Kura clover-tall fescue offers an alternative to alfalfa– tall fescue for long-term pastures in the irrigated steppe of the southern Rocky Mountains.

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