Planting Alfalfa with Cover Crops on Forage Dry Matter Yield and Nutritive Values of Alfalfa

Doohong Min, Iryna McDonald

Abstract


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of planting alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) with- and without cover crops on forage dry matter yield and nutritive values of alfalfa in Kansas, USA. In the first production year 2014, dry matter yield of mono-culture alfalfa appears to be compatible or even higher than planting with certain species of winter annual forages as a cover crop. Alfalfa planted with a combination of four different multi-species winter annual forages such as oats (Avena sativa L.), oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus L.), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorumL.), and turnip (Brassica rapa L.) had the highest dry matter yield of alfalfa in 2014.Dry matter yield of alfalfa in 2nd production year 2015 was similar to alfalfa + oats and alfalfa + oats + oilseed radish + annual ryegrass + turnip or significantly higher than alfalfa planted with annual ryegrass, oilseed radish, and turnip together. Based on two year of data in 2014 and 2015, the highest alfalfa yield occurred when alfalfa was planted with a combination of oats, oilseed radish, annual ryegrass, and turnip. The lowest dry matter yield of alfalfa occurred when alfalfa was planted with annual ryegrass.No significant differences in crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were found when comparing alfalfa monoculture with alfalfa + oats, alfalfa + oilseed radish, alfalfa + oats + oilseed radish + annual ryegrass + turnip, and alfalfa + turnip treatments. When considering both dry matter and nutritive values of alfalfa, planting alfalfa with cover crops appears to be compatible or better practice than planting alfalfa monoculture.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jas.v5i2.11408

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379

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