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NATIVE GRASS PASTURE YIELDS

The yield cages in the native grass pasture at the Station livestock farm were clipped for the tenth consecutive year. Table 10 gives the oven-dry weights of the forage obtained from the cages in a single late-season clipping. Type 5, which is on land no longer belonging to the Experiment Station, was not clipped this season. It is impossible to include this type in the clipping program any longer.

Production of native grass in the pasture was surprisingly good this year considering the fact that April and most of May were quite dry, and growth of the grass was very poor during the early part of the season. The native grass responded well to the late moisture. This year blue gama grass produced a larger portion of the yield than usual. This is the only late growing grass of importance in the upland portions of the pasture. The average production of all types was 1538 lbs. per acre, which is about the same as last season's production and slightly more than the 10-year average production of 1371 lbs. per acre for all types.

This does not give an entirely clear picture, however, of the actual yield status of the pasture this year. The data in Table 10 show that production on all types except one was less or about the same as last year, and that production on one of the most important types, Type 8, was less than half that of last year and only about two-thirds the average production of this type.

Table 10. Forage Yields from Cage Clippings - Dickinson Experiment Station Native Grass Pasture -1946-1955
Type No. Type Description Forage Yield - Lbs. per acre (Oven-dry) 10-year Average
1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955
1 Upland type 924 1432 776 434 710 512 593 1768 929 903 898
2 Upland draw 1313 2394 1210 869 915 869 948 3009 1157 1459 1414
3 Lower draw 1455 2972 1385 941 1226 597 1701 3144 3060 2407 1889
4 Bench type 658 1039 667 315 742 310 470 1587 637 562 699
5 Upland Slopes1 561 1395 1129 549 624 349 496 1805 --- --- ---
6 Lower bench 1269 1518 1263 743 800 339 597 2804 624 663 1062
7 Big bluestem 2128 2849 2552 2136 3444 1823 2134 3522 2886 39712 2744
8 Crested Wheat grass 937 1945 1222 613 1262 989 657 2383 1808 801 1262
Average - all types 1156 1943 1275 825 1215 723 949 2503 1586 1538 1371
1Type 5 is no longer included in the pasture.
The 8-year average yield of this type is 863 lbs. per acre.
2Yield considerably increased because of sweetclover grown to maturity in cages.

Taken on the overall basis, production on the Station native grass pasture this year should be rated about average or possibly a trifle below average.

Production on Type 7, the big bluestem type along the watercourse, was unusually high this year. This production was not the result of unusually good grass production, but rather the result of an unusual development of sweetclover inside one of the cages. There was some sweetclover in all the cages, but production by this species was very heavy in one of the cages, where it had grown to full maturity.


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