Date of this Version
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. NF-FO-07-01 (etc.)
Rising costs of N fertilizer coupled with evidence of improved forage production and quality has increased interest among beef cattle producers in legume-grass mixtures for pasture. Our objectives were to evaluate forage yields of temperate legumes seeded with perennial grasses in the Southern Plains. Replicated field trials were established in 2006 at Burneyville, OK; Vashti, TX; and Stephenville, TX, to evaluate potential legume dry matter (DM) yields under different soil and rainfall regimes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Burneyville. Legumes were broadcast-seeded and lightly raked by hand within individual 3 x 5 m plots in an existing stand of eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) on 25 Sept. 2006. Before seeding, the eastern gamagrass stand was mowed and baled to a 20- cm height. Diammonium phosphate was applied at 112 kg ha-1 on 3 Nov. 2006. Cumulative legume forage yields were determined by harvest of two 0.1-m2 quadrats at a 2.5-cm height between the eastern gamagrass rows on 19 April, and 27 June 2007. Vashti. Legumes were seeded at < 6.0-mm depth with a HEGE 500 drill into a clean-tilled seedbed along with ‘Flecha’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) at 17 kg PLS ha-1 on 4 Oct. 2006. Before planting, diammonium phosphate was incorporated into the soil at 112 kg ha-1. Grass and legume DM yields were determined by harvest of two 0.4-m2 quadrats at 2.5-cm height on 23 Mar. 2007. Plots were grazed from April through May 2007 to allow for estimation of reseeding and persistence in spring 2008. Stephenville. Legumes were seeded in individual plots at < 6.0-mm depth with a HEGE 500 drill into an existing switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) stand on 31 Oct. 2006. Before seeding, the switchgrass stand was mowed to a 5-cm height, and triple superphosphate was applied at 112 kg ha-1. Forage DM was measured by clipping two 0.4-m2 quadrats at 2.5-cm height from each plot when each legume species reached 50 percent bloom. The trials were randomized complete block designs. Treatments were replicated four times, and data were analyzed with the GLM procedure in SAS (Statistical Analysis Software, Cary, NC). Significance was determined at P < 0.05.