Harvest techniques change annual warm-season legume forage yield and nutritive value Academic Article uri icon


  • Comparison among warmseason legume forage trials may not be valid if harvest techniques vary. To address this question, herbage dry matter (DM) yields, branching, crude protein (CP), and fiber concentrations for nine warmseason annual herbaceous legumes were measured by handplucking all leaves and pliable tips or clipping at 7.5 or 15cm height. The experiment was conducted in Texas on a Windthorst fine sandy loam over 2 yr. Harvest technique did not affect DM yield in 2004, but the handplucked harvest technique produced 34 to 39% less forage in 2005 (low rainfall year) compared with the clipped plots. Most entries had greater branching on handplucked than on clipped plants (entry by harvest P < 0.05). Crude protein concentration was greater (P < 0.05) and fiber concentrations lower in the handplucked compared with the clipped plants. These results suggest that neither yields nor nutritive values of handplucked forage trials examining annual warmseason herbaceous legumes should be compared with clipped forage trials, whereas clipping heights may be less problematic. Results support a careful choice of experiment harvest technique based on the future fieldscale harvest method or degree of target herbivore selectivity.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Muir, J. P., Butler, T. J., Wolfe, R. M., & Bow, J. R.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Muir, James P||Butler, Twain J||Wolfe, Richard M||Bow, John R

publication date

  • May 2008