Establishment‐Year Native Perennial Bunchgrass Biomass Yields
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© Crop Science Society of America. Weak seedling vigor of native North American perennial bunchgrasses may result in poor establishment-season herbage dry matter (DM) yields (HY). Interseeding North American annual legumes as an N source during grassland restoration, pasture establishment, or bioenergy crop seeding might compound this limitation. Our first objective was to evaluate yellow Indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash], switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash] first-season HY in the southern Great Plains of North America. This took place in north–central Texas on a Windthorst fine sandy loam soil with no irrigation or soil amendments. Our second objective was to measure the effects of cross-drilling native North American annual legumes smooth-seeded wild bean [Strophostyles leiosperma (Torr. & Gray) Piper], trailing wild bean [Strophostyles helvula (L.) Elliott], and showy partridge pea [Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene] on bunchgrass first-season HY. In the drier (340 mm) year, legumes failed to establish, while switchgrass produced 2410 and Indiangrass yielded 1980 kg HY ha−1 y−1. In the year with 687 mm rainfall, legumes had no negative effects (P > 0.05) on grass HY (5490 kg HY ha−1 y−1 for switchgrass) despite providing up to 49 through 1800 kg HY ha−1 y−1 (showy partridge-pea with little bluestem; P ≤ 0.05 for year by grass × legume interactions). Our results indicate that these bunchgrasses produced harvestable HY during their establishment year and that simultaneously seeding annual legumes did not impair native perennial grass establishment while, in 1 yr, making potential N contributions for subsequent stand productivity.
author list (cited authors)
Muir, J. P., Foster, J. L., & Bow, J. R.