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HAY YIELDS FROM GRASS PLOTS AND GRASS - ALFALFA MIXTURE PLOTS

1. 1951 Grass Plots.
Ten varieties of grass were cut for hay from the small plot trials seeded in the spring of 1951. The hay yields from the plots are given in Table 1, together with the yields for the previous three seasons. The yield samples are clipped from two meter-square areas in each of three 1/80 th acre plots of each variety. The stands in nearly all plots are excellent stands. The hay clipping treatment has not weakened the stands in four years of clipping, and weeds in the plots are negligible for the most part. Tall wheat grass, pubescent wheat grass, and intermediate wheat grass plots are somewhat more weedy than the others. Average production of weeds in these plots, however, was less than 100 lbs. / acre this year.

The character of the growing season this year was not too favorable for the growth and development of cool-season grasses. The production of these grasses was cut considerably by dry weather in the early part of the season. The favorable moisture conditions of late May and of June, helped the grass a great deal, but the effects of the early dry weather could not be entirely overcome. The average production for all varieties this year was 1109 lbs. / acre as contrasted to 1396 lbs. last year, 1955 lbs. in 1953, and 1089 lbs. in 1952.

Table 1. Hay yields from Grass Plots Seeded in 1951 at the Dickinson Experiment Station
Grass Oven dry Weight - lbs. / Acre 4 - Year Average
1952 1953 1954 1955
Standard Crested Wheat grass 1178 2727 1719 1217 1710
Nordan Crested Wheat grass 983 2618 1698 1350 1662
Intermediate Wheat grass 1196 1926 1617 1307 1512
Green Stipagrass 1663 2094 969 1193 1480
Pubescent Wheat grass 1187 1846 1688 1089 1453
Fairway Crested Wheat grass 1169 2034 1243 1184 1408
Tall Wheat grass 1046 1596 1621 1074 1334
Northern Bromegrass 914 1795 1362 992 1266
Lincoln Bromegrass 794 1836 1203 1058 1223
Russian Wildrye 759 1082 841 626 827
Average 1089 1955 1396 1109 1387

For the first time in the four years of the trial, standard crested wheat grass was not the top yielder. It was exceeded slightly this year by Nordan crested wheat grass and by Intermediate wheat grass. On the basis of the four - year average, however, standard crested wheat grass is still the top yielder with an average production of 1710 lbs. of dry forage per acre. Nordan crested wheat grass is second at 1622 lbs. / acre, and intermediate wheat grass comes third with a four - year average production of 1512 lbs. / acre. In this trial common northern bromegrass shows a four - year average production of 1266 lbs. / acre, while Lincoln brome shows practically the same average yield, 1233 lbs. / acre. Of the 10 varieties in this trial, only Russian wildrye, at 827 lbs. / acre, has a lower four - year average yield than do the bromegrass varieties.

2. Uniform Bromegrass Nursery.
The uniform bromegrass nursery, which was seeded in the spring of 1953, was harvested for hay for the second time this year. This nursery compares 14 varieties of bromegrass. The trial consists of a randomized block with four replications. Stands on all plots are excellent. The variety Elsberry, which had a somewhat weak stand last year, was in complete possession of the plots on which it had been seeded by the time hay was cut this year. Weeds were negligible in all plots.

The top yielders this year were: Elsberry - 1548 lbs dry hay per acre, Lyon - 1511 lbs per acre, and Lincoln - 1498 lbs per acre. These three are southern type bromes. The northern type bromes, as represented by Manchar, Homesteader, Mandant 404, and Canadian commercial, have not yielded as well as most of the southern types in this trial. However, this year Manchar and Homesteader yielded better than some of the southern type bromes. Canadian commercial, at 1287 lbs per acre, was the lowest producer this year, as it was last year.

Table 2. Hay Yields from Uniform Bromegrass Nursery Seeded in 1953
Variety Dry Weight - lbs. / Acre
1954 1955 Two - year Average
Achenbach 1702 1463 1582
Lincoln 1606 1498 1552
Fischer 1637 1414 1525
Lyon 1380 1511 1445
Oklahoma Synthetic 1363 1426 1394
Lancaster 1275 1476 1375
Elsberry 1190 1548 1369
Manchar 1241 1478 1359
Kuhl 1334 1352 1343
Homesteader 1214 1433 1323
Mandan 404 1261 1359 1310
Bin 12 1289 1326 1307
Martin 1247 1335 1291
Canadian Commercial 1122 1287 1204
Average 1347 1421 1384

3. Intermediate Wheatgrass.
Two intermediate wheat grass trials are in progress. One nursery contains four varieties of intermediate wheat grass. This nursery was seeded in 1953. The other trial, seeded in the spring of 1954, contains five varieties of intermediate wheat grass and two varieties of pubescent wheat grass. Table 3 give the results of the yield trials on the plots seeded in the spring of 1953, while Table 4 gives the hay yields from the trial seeded last year.

Stands in the 1953 seeding are excellent with the exception of the plots containing M2-10820 were listed as having no stand. This year they produced 1584 lbs. / acre of dry hay. Stands in these plots are still not satisfactory, but the few plants that were in each plot grew with unusual vigor and coarseness, producing a relatively high yield of stemmy material.

Hay yields in these plots this year were slightly better than last year, Ree wheat grass producing a little over one ton per acre, and Nebraska 50 and A-12496 each producing about 1870 lbs. per acre. On the basis of the two year average, Ree wheat grass has produced slightly more hay per acre than the others.

The yields from the 1954 seeded trial are unusually good. None of the varieties yielded less than 1 1/4 tons of dry hay per acre and top producing variety, Ree yielded almost 1 3/4 tons per acre. All stands on these plots are excellent, and weeds were only a very small part of the yields from these plots.

Table 3. Hay Yields from Intermediate Wheat grass Plots Seeded in 1953
Variety Dry Weight - lbs per acre
1954 1955 Two - Year Average
Ree 1759 2057 1903
A - 12496 1844 1867 1855
Nebraska 50 1673 1869 1771
M2 - 10820 no stand 1584 ---
Average 1759 1844 1843

 

Table 4. Hay Yields from Intermediate Wheat grass - Pubescent Wheat grass Yield Plots
Seeded in 1954.
Variety Yield - Lbs. per acre Composition
Grass Weeds Total % Grass % Weeds
Ree 3419 18 3437 99.5 0.5
Nebraska 50 3299 11 3310 99.7 0.3
Pubescent wheat grass 3131 13 3144 99.6 0.4
N. Dak. Intermediate 2839 21 2860 99.3 0.7
M2 - 10820 2724 24 2748 99.1 0.9
A -12496 2647 28 2675 99.0 1.0
N. Dak. Pubescent 2580 41 2621 98.4 1.6

4. Mixture Trials.
Ten of the 15 different grass and grass-alfalfa combinations included in the mixture plot trial were harvested for hay this year. The remaining five mixtures have such poor stands on the plots that they cannot be considered comparable to the others. The hay yields from the plots harvested are given in Table 5. This table also gives the composition of the samples harvested this year. The estimate of composition is based on hand separation of all samples. As can be seen from the composition estimate, the plots containing mixtures of grass and alfalfa have very nearly equal parts of grass and alfalfa in them (dry-weight basis). Weeds are negligible in the plots harvested for hay.

The hay yields from the mixture plots trial for the 1955 season range from a high of 2673 lbs per acre for the intermediate wheat grass - alfalfa mixture, to a low of 1500 lbs per acre for straight bromegrass. In general yields from the mixture plots were appreciably higher than they were last year. The mixtures containing grass and alfalfa all yielded better than the grass combinations or straight grass plots. This has not always been the case in this trial. Last year straight crested wheat grass out yielded all grass-legume combinations and all other grass mixtures or straight grass plots.

The combination of intermediate wheat grass and alfalfa is the top yielding mixture on the basis of the four-year average yield.

Table 5. Hay Yields from Mixture Plot Trials Seeded in 1951 at Dickinson Experiment Station
  1952 1953 1954 1955 Average Grass Alfalfa Weeds
Intermediate wheat grass & alfalfa 1268 3783 1845 2673 2392 46.6 53.4 ---
Crested wheat grass & alfalfa 979 2813 1859 2324 1994 56.4 43.6 ---
Mandan wildrye - Russian wildrye green stipagrass - alfalfa 873 3312 1557 2046 1947 43.2 56.8 ---
Alfalfa1 728 3388 1331 1960 1852 100.0 --- ---
Mandan wildrye - Russian wildrye Alfalfa 917 2980 1227 2070 1798 44.9 55.1 ---
Crested wheat grass 961 2709 1918 1587 1794 99.7 --- 0.3
Intermediate wheat grass 992 2006 1342 1524 1466 99.1 --- 0.9
Mandant wildrye - green - stipagrass 935 1730 1332 1699 1424 100.0 --- ---
Bromegrass - alfalfa --- --- 1518 2393 19552 50.8 49.2 ---
Bromegrass --- --- 1231 1500 13652 99.9 --- 0.1
Average - plots with grass only 963 2148 1456 1577 1536      
Average - plots with grass and alfalfa 1009 3222 1601 2301 2033      
1one cutting only
22 - year average

Intermediate wheat grass seems to be especially responsive to the presence of alfalfa. This year the mixture of intermediate and alfalfa yielded 75.4 percent more hay than the straight intermediate wheat grass plots. Bromegrass and alfalfa produced 59.5 percent more hay than straight bromegrass, and the crested wheat grass - alfalfa mixture produced 46.4 percent more than straight crested wheat grass. This was the first year since the beginning of the trial that the crested - alfalfa mixture has produced substantially more than straight crested wheat grass.

The average yield of hay on all plots containing grass only was 1577 lbs per acre this year. The average yield of all the plots containing grass and alfalfa mixtures was 2301 lbs per acre, a difference of 724 lbs, or 45.9 percent greater yield than from the straight grass plots. Last year the yield advantage for the grass - alfalfa combinations over the straight grass plots was only 9.9 percent. The year before that the grass - alfalfa mixtures had a yield advantage of 50 percent. On the basis of the four - year, over - all average, 1952 - 1955, the grass - alfalfa combinations show a 32.3 percent yield advantage over the straight grass or mixtures.


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