Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Agronomy Journal (1975) 67: 652-654.


Seed size has been shown to have an important influence on the emergence and early growth of seedlings of several forage legumes, but only fragmentary information on seed size effects in sweetclover (Melilotus spp.) has been published. Therefore, a 2-year study was conducted in which spring and fall seedings of small, medium, and large seeds of 'Madrid' and 'N13' sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam.) were made at depths of 19, 38, and 57 mm. The spring seeding also included a comparison of a companion crop (oats) with no companion crop. Data on emergence score and plant height were collected for the spring seeding only; stand count and dry matter yield of tops and roots were measured for both spring and fall seedings. The companion crop had little effect on emergence score, but it reduced stand count and plant height, and was highly detrimental to dry matter yield. The performance of Madrid was poorer in all respects than that of N13, an experimental cultivar with relatively large seeds. As planting depth was increased, stand counts decreased, but the performance of plants that emerged from the greater depths was relatively good. The most striking results of increased seed size appeared to be improved emergence score and increased dry matter production.