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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Integration of cool-season annual legumes and dairy manure compost with switchgrass
Year: 2008
Author(s): Bow, J. R., Muir, J. P., Weindorf, D. C., Rosiere, R. E., Butler, T. J.
Source Title: Crop Science
Source Type: Journal
pages: 1621-1628
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Annual cool-season legumes can contribute forage or green manure to warm-season grass pastures or biofuel crops but may interfere with subsequent grass development. Arrowleaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum Savi cv. Yuchi), common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), and button medic [Medicago orbicularis (L.) Bartal cv. Estes] were oversown on 10-yr-old switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) in north-central Texas to evaluate dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value. Legumes were no-till drilled into a Windthorst fine sandy loam in autumn of 2000 and 2001; plots either received no dairy manure compost or 30 Mg compost ha(-1). Forage was harvested when individual legume species reached flowering, when switchgrass regrowth reached boot stage, and at the end of the summer growing season. Switchgrass DM yields (3022-6630 kg ha(-1) yr(-1)) were not reduced by overseeded legumes. Arrowleaf clover had the greatest production among the legume species and yielded more in a monoculture (1762-1923 kg ha(-1) yr(-1)) than with switchgrass (757-814 kg). Cumulative yields increased the second year as a result of legumes, compost, and combinations of the two. Compost increased phosphorus concentrations in both the grass and legumes, but not crude protein or acid detergent fiber concentrations. Cool-season annual legumes may be beneficial in switchgrass forage and biofuel systems, especially in combination with manure compost.