Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

Grass-legume mixtures can improve forage yields, nutritive value, and net economic benefits. A replicated experiment was conducted from 2013-2017 at the University of Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension Center to determine forage yield, nutritive value, and gross margin for meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.), and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) mixtures and monocultures. Treatments included 50-50% and 70-30% mixtures of meadow bromegrass with each legume and 50-25-25% mixture of meadow bromegrass with two legumes and 50-16.7-16.7-16.7% mixture of meadow bromegrass, alfalfa, sainfoin, and birdsfoot trefoil. Grass monocultures received 0, 50, and 100 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre as urea. The study was established in 2013 and plots were harvested in mid-June, August, and October each year from 2014 to 2017. Harvested samples were used to estimate forage dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value using the near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Economic analysis was based on expenses involved in producing each crop according to different treatment and cumulative forage DM yields. Gross margin was calculated each year from the difference of cash inflow and variable operational cost. Total forage DM yield from mixtures was consistently higher than legume and grass monocultures. This was particularly evident in the 50-50% and 70-30% mixtures of meadow bromegrass with alfalfa and 70-30% mixture of meadow bromegrass with birdsfoot trefoil. Some of the grass-legume mixtures containing alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil improved forage nutritive value to levels equivalent to good quality alfalfa. The 50-50% mixture of meadow bromegrass with alfalfa had the highest four-year total gross margin of $1497 per acre. There were no significant gains in profits for meadow bromegrass monoculture with or without N fertilizer. Overall, grass-legume mixtures, which include alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil, have potential market value comparable to good quality, pure alfalfa.

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Grass-Legume Mixtures for Diversified and Profitable Forage Production

Grass-legume mixtures can improve forage yields, nutritive value, and net economic benefits. A replicated experiment was conducted from 2013-2017 at the University of Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension Center to determine forage yield, nutritive value, and gross margin for meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.), and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) mixtures and monocultures. Treatments included 50-50% and 70-30% mixtures of meadow bromegrass with each legume and 50-25-25% mixture of meadow bromegrass with two legumes and 50-16.7-16.7-16.7% mixture of meadow bromegrass, alfalfa, sainfoin, and birdsfoot trefoil. Grass monocultures received 0, 50, and 100 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre as urea. The study was established in 2013 and plots were harvested in mid-June, August, and October each year from 2014 to 2017. Harvested samples were used to estimate forage dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value using the near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Economic analysis was based on expenses involved in producing each crop according to different treatment and cumulative forage DM yields. Gross margin was calculated each year from the difference of cash inflow and variable operational cost. Total forage DM yield from mixtures was consistently higher than legume and grass monocultures. This was particularly evident in the 50-50% and 70-30% mixtures of meadow bromegrass with alfalfa and 70-30% mixture of meadow bromegrass with birdsfoot trefoil. Some of the grass-legume mixtures containing alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil improved forage nutritive value to levels equivalent to good quality alfalfa. The 50-50% mixture of meadow bromegrass with alfalfa had the highest four-year total gross margin of $1497 per acre. There were no significant gains in profits for meadow bromegrass monoculture with or without N fertilizer. Overall, grass-legume mixtures, which include alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil, have potential market value comparable to good quality, pure alfalfa.