No-till sequential cropping of summer and fall annual forage species compared with grassland

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Summer (SAS) and fall annual species (FAS) can supplement animal forage requirements during times of slow growth of cool-season perennials. A 2-yr experiment was conducted in a perennial grassland (G) at the Reedsville Experimental Farm of West Virginia University to determine herbage accumulation (HA) and quality of two summer and two fall crops (in factorial combination) grown on the same land. The summer crops were sudangrass [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] or pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.], and the fall crops were triticale (xTriticosecale spp.) or a mixture of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) and turnip (Brassica rapa L.). Two methods, burning and glyphosate application, were used to control existing vegetation before seeding annual forages. Three levels of N (0, 50, and 100 kg ha–1) were applied to each sequence of crops on two occasions for a total of 0, 100, and 200 kg ha–1 yr–1. On a 12-mo basis, G out-produced (at 0 and 100 kg N ha–1) or equaled (at 200 kg N ha–1) all combinations of SAS and FAS. Sudangrass produced the most herbage mass in summer and was of lower quality than pearl millet and G. Species established after glyphosate and receiving high N application produced more herbage mass than those established after burning or with lower rates of N. Pearl millet seeded after burning failed to establish. Grassland (2543 kg ha–1) and the mixture of annual ryegrass and turnip (2608 kg ha–1) out-produced triticale (1778 kg ha–1) in fall.

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