Year of Publication

2008

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Dr. S. Ray Smith

Abstract

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is the most important forage crop in the United States and consistently produces high yields and quality, but harvest frequency is the most significant factor for maximizing forage yield and quality. The objective of this research was to determine forage yield, quality, and regrowth rate among new alfalfa cultivars under four different harvest frequencies. Some of these cultivars have been marketed as having rapid rates of regrowth after cutting to maximize the number of harvests per year. Five cultivars were placed under four harvest frequencies of 25, 30, 35, and 40 days in a split-plot design. There was a significant yield and regrowth rate effect across cultivars and harvest frequencies, but little forage quality effect during the two years of this research. These results confirm previous findings that a 35-d harvest frequency is optimal for forage yield, quality, and stand persistence.

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