Yield and Species Composition of Binary Mixtures of Kura Clover with Kentucky Bluegrass, Orchardgrass, or Smooth Bromegrass

  • Kim, B.W. (College of Animal Resources, Kangwon National University) ;
  • Albrecht, K.A. (Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Received : 2007.05.21
  • Accepted : 2007.11.09
  • Published : 2008.07.01


Kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.) is a rhizomatous perennial legume that has potential as a forage crop in the North-Central USA because of its excellent persistence under environmental extremes. Little information is available about defoliation effects on productivity of mixtures of kura clover with grasses typically grown in this region. Two field trials were conducted to evaluate the effects of defoliation management on yield and species composition of binary mixtures of 'Rhizo' kura clover with 'Comet' orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), 'Badger' smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.), 'Park' Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), and solo-seeded kura clover near Arlington, WI. Three harvest schedules (three, four, or five times annually) and two cutting heights (4 or 10 cm) were imposed. Infrequent defoliation and lower cutting height produced significantly greater total forage yield, 6.6, 5.8, and 5.2 Mg/ha in 3-, 4-, and 5-harvest systems, respectively; and 6.5 and 5.2 Mg/ha for the 4- and 10-cm cutting height, respectively. Averaged over 3 yr and two environments, mixtures had higher forage productions than solo kura clover (6.3, 5.7, and 6.0 Mg/ha for the Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, and smooth bromegrass mixtures, respectively; compared to 5.2 Mg/ha for solo kura clover). The proportion of kura clover in mixtures increased from yr 1 to yr 2 and was constant from yr 2 to yr 3 (34, 58, and 57%, respectively). We conclude that kura clover has excellent potential as a long-term component of grass-legume mixtures regardless of the cutting height, harvest frequency or grass species, even though the proportion of kura clover in harvested forage was significantly greater with less frequent harvest and shorter cutting height of all mixtures.


Supported by : International Dairy Research and Development


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