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Effect of seed mixture and management intensity on yield components and feeding value of white clover/grass-mixtures: 1. Proportion of white clover and dry matter yield

Effect of seed mixture and management intensity on yield components and feeding value of white clover/grass-mixtures: 1. Proportion of white clover and dry matter yield

Wirtschaftseigene Futter 39(1): 69-86

In a 3-yr field trial the effects of grass variety (four cultivars of Lolium perenne of different levels of ear emergence and ploidy, one cultivar of Dactylis glomerata and Phleum pratense, respectively), white clover type (one medium and one large leaved, Ladino type), and management (3 cuts 150 N, 4 cuts 200 N, and 6 cuts 300 N per year, respectively) on yield components of binary mixtures were investigated. Dactylis glomerata proved to be very aggressive against white clover at all levels of management resulting in white clover contents lower than 7%. Nevertheless these mixtures yielded 14% more dry matter than the pure sown grass. Composition and yield of mixtures containing Phleum pratense and white clover were highly dependent on management practices: Increasing management intensity resulted in higher contents of white clover but lower mixture yields and vice versa. Associations of Lolium perenne and white clover were highly compatible (19% white clover). Differences between cultivars of Lolium perenne turned out to be smaller than differences between grass varieties. White clover/grass mixtures outyielded pure sown grasses particularly (7-32%) at the medium management intensity level. Lower or higher levels inhibited white clover growth resulting from either shading effects by tall growing companion grasses or from increased grass growth due to nitrogen fertilizer. Therefore the additional yield caused by white clover decreased to 0-19% and 7-25%, respectively. The Ladino clover reached higher contents in mixtures with grasses (5-18%) than medium leaved type, but these higher contents resulted only in a few cases in higher mixture yields. The use of Ladino therefore can only be recommended in mixtures with aggressive companion grasses due to either genetic competition or management practices with high rates of nitrogen fertilizers.

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