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Cutting Frequency Effects on Forage Yield and Stand Persistence of Orchardgrass and Alfalfa-Orchardgrass Fertilized with Dairy Slurry

  • Min, D.H. ;
  • Vough, L.R.
  • Received : 1999.05.15
  • Accepted : 1999.08.18
  • Published : 2000.05.01

Abstract

Previous research has not evaluated the effects of various rates and frequencies of manure application and frequencies of cutting on yield and stand persistence of cool-season grasses and alfalfa-grass mixtures. The primary objective of this study was to compare the effects of cutting management systems on herbage yield and stand persistence of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and an alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)-orchardgrass mixture from various rates and frequencies of dairy slurry application. A randomized complete block design with treatments in a sub-subplot arrangement with four replicates was used. The main plot consisted of 2 cutting management systems (4 and 5 annual cuttings). The subplots were 9 fertility treatments: 7 slurry rate and frequency of application treatments, one inorganic fertilizer treatment, and an unfertilized control. The split-split-plots were the two forage species: orchardgrass and alfalfa-orchardgrass mixture. The study was initiated after 1st cutting in 1995. Cumulative yields of the 2nd and subsequent cuttings of both orchardgrass and alfalfa-orchardgrass in 1995 were higher for the 5-cutting system than the 4-cutting system. The 1995 growing season was abnormally dry. In 1996, an abnormally wet year, the reverse was true, total herbage yields being higher for the 4-cutting system than the 5-cutting system. Species response to fertility rate/frequency treatments was different in both years. Higher application rates early in the season and carryover of nutrients from late season applications the previous year appear to be responsible for the yield increases of those fertility treatments having significant yield differences between the cutting management systems. The stand ratings of orchardgrass were not affected by cutting management. In the spring of 1997, however, the stand ratings of alfalfa-orchardgrass in the 4-cutting management system were significantly greater than the 5-cutting management system. The very high manure application rate significantly reduced the stand ratings of alfalfa-orchardgrass in the 5-cutting system.

Keywords

Cutting Management Systems;Nutrient Management;Manure