REPORT OF GRASS AND LEGUME INVESTIGATIONS
1961 CROP SEASON

BY WARREN C. WHITMAN, Botanist

HAY YIELDS FROM GRASS PLOTS AND GRASS-ALFALFA MIXTURE PLOTS

Intermediate and pubescent wheatgrass plots: The 1961 hay yields from the intermediate-pubescent wheatgrass plots seeded in 1954 are given in Table 1. Table 2 gives the average yields of the intermediate and pubescent wheatgrass varieties in this trial over the 7-year period, 1955-1961. The data given in Table 1 show the composition of the 1961 yields in terms of seeded grass, other grass, and weeds. The "other grass" consists almost entirely of invading crested wheatgrass. As the data of Table 1 show, there have been rather extensive invasions of crested-wheatgrass into the plots. Especially heavy invasions have taken place in the plots of North Dakota pubescent and Ree wheatgrass.

Table 1. Composition of 1961 Forage Yields from Intermediate-Pubescent Wheatgrass Plots Seeded in 1954.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
Grass Other
Grass
Weeds Total
Production
N. Dak. Pubescent Whtgr. 822 247 11 1080
M2-10820 753 96 40 889
Ree Wheatgrass 545 260 35 840
Pubescent Wheatgrass 553 105 10 668
A-12496 535 92 32 659
N. Dak. Intermediate 379 94 85 558
Nebraska 50 326 --- 106 432
Average 559 128 46 733

Table 2. Hay Yields from Intermediate-Pubescent Wheatgrass Plots Seeded in 1954
Variety Oven-Dry Weight - Lbs./Acre 7-Year
Average
Yield -
Lbs/Acre
1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961
Ree Wheatgrass 3419 1484 2332 1815 1511 1513 840 1845
M2-10820 2724 1329 2290 2006 1435 1636 889 1758
N. Dak. Pubescent 2580 1308 1905 1794 1580 1605 1080 1693
Nebraska 50 3299 1296 2200 1879 1348 1320 432 1682
N. Dak. Intermediate 2839 1385 2214 1735 1490 1431 558 1665
Pubescent Whtgr. 3131 1355 1979 1494 1481 1422 668 1647
A-12496 2647 1409 2017 1449 1231 1306 659 1531
Average 2948 1367 2134 1739 1439 1462 733 1689

All intermediate and pubescent stands in the trial show serious stand loss, with none of the varieties showing more than a 50 per cent stand in the 1961 season, and most varieties averaging about a 25-35 per cent stand. The relatively low plot yields obtained in the 1961 season are primarily the result of drought, but stand deterioration has had an important influence in reducing yields. The average yield of 559 pounds per acre of seeded grass for all varieties is the lowest average yield for the 7-year period of the trial.

The average plot yields (Table 2) show that the intermediate wheatgrass and pubescent wheatgrass varieties have yielded remarkably well for the period of the trial. Despite the low yields of the 1961 season, all varieties have averaged over 3/4-ton of hay for the 7-year period. Stand deterioration is now so serious, however, that it is doubtful whether the varieties will continue adequate production to merit retaining the trial. There seems to be little difference in total production between the intermediate and the pubescent wheatgrass varieties.

New Intermediate Wheatgrass Plots: The 1961 yields of hay from the new intermediate wheatgrass trial are given in Table 3. As yet the stands show little invasion by other grass, and the proportion of weeds in the stands is not excessively high. However, the stands do show serious deterioration, and only a few of the plots have over a 50 per cent stand on them.

The range in yield of seeded grass on the plots this year was from 690 pounds per acre for Idaho #4 to 357 pounds for Amur (A-13046). It is doubtful whether the differences in yield have any significance as between varieties. More likely they reflect slight differences in soil moisture. The average yield of the varieties in the 1961 season was only about one-third of last year's average yield.

The three-year average yields (1959-1961) are given in Table 4. While generalization from the present data is hardly justified, it does seem that Amur and Greenar have been less productive in this trial than most of the other varieties. However, the range in average yields for the three-year period is only from 983 pounds per acre to 1262 pounds per acre. The three-year average yield for all varieties of a little over one-half ton per acre is relatively low for young stands of intermediate wheatgrass. South Dakota #20 has been consistently among the better producers throughout the period of the trial.

Table 3. Composition of 1961 Forage Yields from Intermediate Wheatgrass Plots Seeded in 1958.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre Total
Production-
Lbs/Acre
Grass Other
Grass
Weeds
Idaho #4 690 5 33 728
A-12496 657 --- --- 657
South Dakota #20 642 --- --- 642
N. Dak. Intermediate 460 3 23 486
Idaho #3 410 --- 76 486
Nebraska 50 466 5 8 479
Amur (A-13046) 357 1 91 449
Greenar 397 --- 14 411
Ree Wheatgrass 365 7 3 375
Average 494 2 28 524

Table 4. Hay Yields from Intermediate Wheatgrass Plots Seeded in 1958.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
1959 1960 1961 3-Year
Average
Yield
South Dakota 20 1282 1863 642 1262
Idaho #3 1207 2033 486 1242
Idaho #4 1044 1545 728 1106
Nebraska 50 1151 1639 479 1090
N. Dak. Intermediate 1145 1629 486 1087
Ree Wheatgrass 1269 1522 375 1055
A-12496 860 1560 657 1026
Greenar 1187 1474 411 1024
Amur 1142 1359 449 983
Average 1143 1625 524 1097

Uniform Bromegrass Trial: The hay yields for 1961 of the 14 strains of smooth bromegrass included in the uniform bromegrass trial are given in Table 5. The seven-year average yields for all strains in the trial are given in Table 6. These plots were seeded in 1953 and most of the plots have suffered some stand damage, especially if the last two years. Stands of Lyon, Fischer, and Kuhl seem to have suffered especially severely. Stands on most of the plots, however, are better than 65 per cent. Invasion of other grass and weeds has been relatively slight so far.

The average production of seeded grass for all brome varieties was 375 pounds per acre this year. The range in production this year was from a high of 443 pounds per acre for Manchar to a low of 287 pounds for Canadian commercial. These are the lowest yields obtained so far in the trial and reflect both the effects of the drought season and the deteriorating stands on the plots. Differences in yield between the northern and southern types were not consistent this year.

The data of Table 6 show that on the basis of the seven-year average the southern-type strains have been slightly more productive than the northern-type strains, Lincoln, Fischer, Achenbach, and Oklahoma synthetic are at the top of the list, and the four northern types, Manchar, Mandan 404, Homesteader, and Canadian commercial are at the bottom of the list.

The range in average productivity is not great, however, varying only from 931 pounds per acre for Canadian to 1182 pounds per acre for Lincoln.

Table 5. Composition of 1961 Hay Yields from Bromegrass Plots Seeded in 1953.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre Total Yield-
Lbs./Acre
Grass Other
Grass
Weeds
Oklahoma Synthetic 429 4 28 461
Fischer 375 --- 86 461
Manchar 443 --- 5 448
Elsberry 408 --- 30 438
Lincoln 353 6 73 432
Bin 12 413 --- 3 416
Lancaster 384 1 20 405
Homesteader 373 1 28 402
Kuhl 376 --- 25 401
Lyon 287 1 106 394
Achenbach 360 --- 29 389
Mandan 404 377 --- 8 385
Martin 379 --- 5 384
Canadian com. 287 5 35 327
Average 375 1 34 410

Table 6. Hay Yields from Bromegrass Plots Seeded in 1953.
Variety Dry-Weight Yields - Lbs./Acre 7-Year Average Yield-
Lbs./Acre
1954 1955 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961
Lincoln 1606 1498 1459 1260 906 1115 432 1182
Fischer 1637 1414 1408 1239 849 1111 461 1160
Achenbach 1702 1463 1318 1159 734 1247 389 1145
Oklahoma Synthetic 1363 1426 1614 1190 789 1135 461 1140
Elsberry 1190 1548 1537 1184 952 1010 438 1123
Bin 12 1289 1326 1380 1206 1007 1071 416 1099
Lancaster 1275 1476 1397 1142 864 1095 405 1093
Lyon 1380 1511 1417 1140 707 1042 394 1084
Kuhl 1334 1352 1486 1107 704 1088 401 1067
Martin 1247 1335 1160 1179 951 986 384 1035
Manchar 1241 1478 1132 1126 746 1057 448 1033
Mandan 404 1261 1359 1226 1069 865 991 385 1022
Homesteader 1214 1433 1319 1099 677 1000 402 1021
Canadian Com. 1122 1287 1095 920 774 990 327 931
Average 1347 1421 1353 1144 823 1067 410 1081

New Crested Wheatgrass Plots: Yields of hay (oven-dry weight) from the plots in the new crested wheatgrass trials are given in Table 7. This trial was seeded in 1958, and the first yields were taken in 1959. The stands in this trial are in excellent condition, containing little or no invading grass and only negligible amounts of weeds. One variety, A-1770, which was seeded initially in the trial, failed to make satisfactory stands on any of the plots, and has not been included. Turkish Fairway is the only variety that seems to have little adaptation to the area, and this variety has been consistently low yielding.

With the yield of Turkish Fairway excluded, the range in yields for the 1961 season was from 770 pounds per acre for South Dakota #15 to 905 pounds per acre for Nebraska 3576 Fairway. The average yield for all varieties was 810 pounds per acre, which is over twice the yield of seeded grass from the brome plots (Table 5) and almost 30 per cent more than the average yield of seeded grass from the intermediate wheatgrass plots (Table 3). All the adapted varieties of crested wheatgrass show an average yield for the three-year period of over one-half ton per acre. Generally speaking, the Fairway varieties have yielded as well as the varieties of the standard type.

Table 7. Hay Yields from Crested Wheatgrass Varieties Seeded in 1958.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre 3-Year
Av. Yield
1959 1960 1961
Commercial Crested 1452 1815 824 1364
Commercial Fairway 1425 1619 873 1306
Nebraska 3576 Fairway 1371 1605 905 1294
Summit Crested 1328 1614 856 1266
Nebraska 10 1137 1791 864 1264
Nordan Crested 1427 1461 806 1231
Mandan 2359 1157 1687 833 1226
South Dakota 15 1164 1546 770 1160
Turkish Fairway 753 930 562 748
Average 1246 1563 810 1206

Station Grass and Mixture Trial: Tables 8, 9, 10 summarize the yields of the mixtures and straight grass seedings in the new Station trial seeded in the spring of 1958. The trial is similar to trials being carried on at the other branch stations. Yields from the mixtures and straight grass seedings were fairly good this season considering the general drought conditions that prevailed. The mixtures actually showed very little advantage over the straight grass seedings, averaging 879 pounds per acre, while the grasses alone averaged 822 pounds per acre.

Table 8 gives the 1961 yields from the grass-alfalfa mixtures, and Table 9 summarizes the three-year average production from the mixtures. As shown in Table 8, alfalfa in the 1961 season contributed over 30 per cent of the average yield of the mixtures. Alfalfa was a major contributor to yield in four of the mixtures. These were the green stipa-ladak alfalfa mixture, the green stipa, Teton alfalfa mixture, the Lincoln brome-ladak mixture, and the Manchar brome-ladak mixture. It was a very important contributor in the case of the Lincoln brome-Teton alfalfa mixture. The two green stipa-alfalfa mixtures were seeded in the fall of 1959, and the green stipagrass is not fully established. In the other mixtures alfalfa contributed from about 10 to 20 per cent of the yield.

Stands in a number of the plots were reduced somewhat by the drought conditions of the 1961 season. However, there has been very little invasion of the stands by other grasses, and weeds have not become important in any of the established grass-alfalfa mixture plots. The 1961 yields of the Nordan crested-Teton alfalfa and the Lincoln brome-Nordan crested-Ladak alfalfa were outstandingly good for such a dry season.

The data of Table 9 show that on the basis of the three-year average yields, the Nordan crested-Teton alfalfa, the intermediate wheatgrass-Teton alfalfa, the Lincoln brome-Nordan-Ladak, and the intermediate wheatgrass-Ladak alfalfa mixtures have been the best producing mixtures. The Russian wildrye-alfalfa mixtures have been somewhat lower producing than the other mixtures, as would be expected from the growth habit of Russian wildrye. The three-year average production for all mixtures (excluding the newer seedings of green stipa) of over one ton per acre is unusually good in view of the dry 1961 season.

Table 8. Composition of 1961 Hay Yields from Station Grass-Alfalfa Mixture Trial Seeded in 1958.
Mixtures Dry-Weight Yields - Lbs./Acre
Grass Alfalfa Other
Grass
Weeds Total
Yield
Nordan Crested-Teton Alfalfa 1232 128 --- --- 1360
Lincoln Brome-Nordan Crested-Ladak Alfalfa 1044 151 --- --- 1195
Green Stipa (New)-Ladak Alfalfa 104 796 --- 135 1035
Lincoln Brome-Teton Alfalfa 668 268 4 3 943
Lincoln Brome-Ladak Alfalfa 494 392 13 4 903
Russian Wildrye (2355)-Teton Alfalfa 680 104 --- 2 786
Intermediate Whtgr.-Ladak Alfalfa 566 112 --- 77 755
Russian Wildrye (2355)-Ladak Alfalfa 647 64 --- --- 711
Manchar Brome-Ladak Alfalfa 486 204 --- 2 692
Intermediate Whtgr.-Teton Alfalfa 514 79 9 45 647
Green Stipa-Teton Alfalfa 162 475 --- 5 642
Average 600 252 2 25 879

Table 9. Three-Year Hay Yields from Station Grass-Alfalfa Mixture Trial Seeded in 1958.
Mixtures Dry-Weight Yields - Lbs./Acre
1959 1960 1961 3 - Year
Average
Yield
Nordan Crested-Teton Alfalfa 2536 3396 1360 2431
Intermediated Whtgr.-Teton Alfalfa 3144 3381 647 2391
Lincoln Brome-Nordan Crested-Ladak Alfalfa 2447 3204 1195 2282
Intermediate Whtgr.-Ladak Alfalfa 2818 3258 755 2277
Lincoln Brome-Ladak Alfalfa 2171 3272 903 2115
Lincoln Brome-Teton Alfalfa 2329 2765 943 2012
Manchar Brome-Teton Alfalfa 2127 2764 692 1816
Russian Wildrye (2355)-Teton Alfalfa 1449 2307 786 1514
Russian Wildrye (2355)-Ladak Alfalfa 1653 1716 711 1360
Green Stipagrass-Ladak Alfalfa --- --- 1035 ---
Green Stipagrass-Teton Alfalfa --- --- 642 ---
Average 2297 2896 879 2022

The production of the straight grass seedings in the Station Trial is given in Table 10. As previously mentioned, the yields of the straight grasses are very nearly as good as the yields of the grass-alfalfa mixture plots. The grass yields have been unusually good in this trial. The three-year average yield for all grass varieties of 1,988 pounds per acre compares favorably with the three-year average yields of the mixture plots at 2,022 pounds per acre.

Summit crested wheatgrass has shown the highest average yield for the three-year period with a production of 2,412 pounds per acre. Intermediate wheatgrass (Nebr. 50), Nordan crested, Lincoln brome, and Southland brome all show an average production of over one ton per acre for the period of the trial. The two northern bromes and Russian wildrye show appreciable lower production. Slender wheatgrass, which produced fairly well the first two years of the trial, has largely gone out, and the weed covered plots of this variety were not harvested, in the 1961 season. The two green stipagrass varieties are new stands, having been seeded in the fall of 1959.

Table 10. Three-Year Hay Yields from Station Grass Trial Seeded in 1958.
Grass Varieties Dry-Weight Yield-Lbs./Acre
1959 1960 1961 3 - Year
Average
Yield
Summit Crested 2653 3310 1272 2412
Intermediate Whtgr. (N.50) 2865 3440 743 2349
Nordan Crested 2364 3203 1259 2275
Lincoln Brome 2559 3107 971 2212
Southland Brome 2344 3293 750 2129
Northern Brome 2324 2876 540 1913
Manchar Brome 2332 2560 707 1866
Russian Wildrye (2355) 1368 2086 686 1380
Russian Wildrye (Com.) 1404 1913 756 1358
Slender Whtgr. 1937 2601 no stand ---
Green Stipa (New) --- --- 755 ---
Green Stipa (Com.) --- --- 608 ---
Average 2215 2839 822 1988

New Dryland Alfalfa Plots: A new alfalfa trial with twelve varieties was seeded on June 23, 1960. Individual plots were 6' x 30', and four replications were included. Excellent first-year stands were obtained, and the trial was cut once for hay in the 1961 season. As can be seen from Table 11, which reports the yields obtained, production was generally low with the average alfalfa yield for all varieties being 876 pounds per acre (oven-dry). Some of the varieties, especially Du Puits and Pfister, showed some stand loss from the excellent first-year stands. There was very little regrowth on the plots after the first cutting.

Vernal, Rambler, Grimm, Ladak, and Narrangansett showed the best first-year yields, but little significance can be attached to the yield differences obtained in the first year of the study. Yields of alfalfa from the plots ranged from a low of 701 pounds per acre for Pfister FD-180 to a high of 1049 pounds per acre for Vernal.

Table 11. Hay Yields from Dryland Alfalfa Plots Seeded in 1960.
Variety Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
Alfalfa Weeds Total
Vernal 1049 50 1099
Rambler 1003 121 1124
Grimm 967 92 1059
Ladak 937 26 963
Narragansett 936 87 1023
Du Puits 872 102 974
Scandia 860 47 907
Ranger 838 31 869
S. Dak. H-2157 800 100 900
Rhizoma 782 45 827
Teton 764 77 841
Pfister FD-180 701 203 904
Average 876 82 958


NITROGEN FERTILIZER ON CRESTED WHEATGRASS

Plots Fertilized Every Year: Hay yields from old crested wheatgrass plots fertilized every year with ammonium nitrate (33-0-0) are given in Table 12. This trial was begun in 1955 and seven-years' data are available. Fertilizer applications on these plots have all been made in early spring, with the 1961 applications being made on April 7. The treatments include check, 25 pounds N., 50 pounds N., and 100 pounds N. per acre.

In the 1961 season, all fertilizer applications increased forage production on the fertilized plots, but all increases were very small. The check plots produced 550 pounds of forage (oven-dry) per acre; the lots with 25 pounds of nitrogen produced 661 pounds of grass per acre; those with 50 pounds N., 693 pounds of grass; and those with 100 pounds N., 706 pounds of grass. None of these increases would have been profitable considering the price of nitrogen to be ten cents per pound and the value of hay to be one cent per pound. This very poor response to nitrogen applications is clearly a result of the unfavorable moisture situation prevailing in the 1961 growing season. The yield of the check plots was only about half the previous average check yield, and the yields on the fertilized plots were only about 40 per cent of the previous average yields on fertilized plots.

Despite the low yields and poor fertilizer response obtained in the 1961 season, the data of Table 12 show that, for the seven-year period as a whole, 25 pounds of nitrogen per acre applied annually has produced a profitable increase in hay yield over that of the check. As previously shown, there is no economic justification for using amounts of nitrogen in excess of 25 pounds per acre for hay production from old crested wheatgrass stands on dryland sites in this area.

Table 12. Forage Production from Old Crested Wheatgrass Plots Fertilized Annually at Three Rates of Nitrogen (33-0-0).
Year Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre Percentage Increase Over Check
Check 25 lbs. N 50 lbs. N 100 lbs. N 25 lbs. N 50 lbs. N 100 lbs. N
1955 1276 2096 2121 2494 64.3 66.2 95.4
1956 612 751 763 670 22.7 24.7 9.5
1957 1356 2117 2064 2174 56.1 52.2 60.3
1958 1224 1679 1839 1993 37.0 50.2 62.8
1959 1116 1451 1284 1206 30.0 51.1 8.1
1960 1279 2003 1954 2160 56.6 52.6 68.9
1961 550 661 693 706 20.2 26.0 28.4
7-Year Average 1059 1537 1531 1629 45.1 44.6 53.8

Plots Fertilized Every Other Year: The yields from old crested wheatgrass plots fertilized every other year with ammonium nitrate are given in Table 13. These plots are fertilized in the spring, and the rates of nitrogen application are the same as for the plots fertilized annually. Fertilizer applications have been made in spring of 1957, 1959, and 1961. The data obtained thus far in the study indicate there is some carry-over from all rates of fertilization. The 1961 yields show no carry-over effect, and very little response to the current-year applications of nitrogen.

The 1961 yield on these plots were 554 pounds of grass per acre for the check, 608 pounds on the 25-pound nitrogen plots, 658 pounds on the 50-pound nitrogen plots, and 624 pounds of grass on the 100-pound nitrogen plots. Obviously the slight increases in yield obtained from the use of the fertilizer were not profitable this season.

On the basis of the use of equal amounts of nitrogen over a two-year period, the increases in yield obtained by fertilizing every other year with 50 pounds of nitrogen have not been as good as the yields obtained by fertilizing annually with 25 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Fertilizing with 100 pounds of nitrogen every other year has produced yields equal to those obtained by fertilizing every year with 50 pounds of nitrogen.

The increased yields from 50 pounds of nitrogen every year or 100 pounds of nitrogen every other year are just barely on the margin of returning the cost of the nitrogen. The use of these rates does not appear to be justified when such a distinct advantage exists for the annual 25-pound application of nitrogen.

Table 13. Forage Production From Old Crested Wheatgrass Plots Fertilized Alternate Years* at Three Rates of Nitrogen (33-0-0).
Year Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre Percentage Increase Over Check
Check 25#N 50#N 100# N 25#N 50#N 100# N
1957 1239 1714 2013 2001 38.3 62.5 61.5
1958 1003 1016 1114 1250 1.3 11.1 24.6
1959 1094 1230 1266 1659 12.4 15.7 51.6
1960 1306 1813 1801 2187 38.8 37.9 67.5
1961 554 608 658 624 9.7 18.8 12.6
5-Year Average 1039 1276 1370 1544 28.8 31.9 48.6
*Fertilizer applied in spring of 1957, 1959, and 1961.

NEW FERTILIZER TRIAL

Hay Yields from New Fertilizer Trial: In this trial four grasses, Nordan crested wheatgrass, Lincoln brome, Intermediate wheatgrass, and Russian wildrye were grown alone, mixed with Ladak alfalfa, and in plots fertilized with 33 pounds of nitrogen per acre, 67 pounds, and 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Fertilizer applications were made in the fall of 1957 and1958, and in the spring of 1960 and 1961. The trial was seeded in spring of 1956.

Fertilization was switched to the spring period because it appeared that considerable stand deterioration was taking place on the fall-fertilized plots of Lincoln brome and intermediate wheatgrass. However, stands on plots containing these varieties continued to deteriorate, and the plots could not be harvested for yield in the 1961 season. The reason for this deterioration apparently was not entirely the fertilizer, because control plots of these varieties also showed serious deterioration.

The hay yields for each of the treatments for the four-year period, 1958-1961, are given in Table 14. In the 1961 season no increases in hay yields were obtained with the alfalfa-grass mixtures over the straight grass seedings. Responses from nitrogen fertilizer were obtained with all three rates of application. Both Nordan crested and Russian wildrye, the best response was obtained with 33 pounds of nitrogen. No additional increases in yield were obtained with the heavier rates of fertilization.

Yield increases were so small that none of the rates of fertilization would have been economical. Thirty-three pounds of nitrogen per acre only increased the hay yield of Nordan crested, 151 pounds over the yield of the check, and Russian wildrye was only increased 178 pounds over the check by this amount of nitrogen.

Table 14. Hay Yields from Grasses in Pure Stands, in Mixture with Alfalfa, and in Pure Stands Fertilized at Three Different Rates, 1958-1961.
Grasses Year Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
Grass
Alone
With
Alfalfa
33#N 67#N 100#N
Nordan Crested 1958 1809 1647 1832 2491 2724
Intermediate Whtgr. 1958 1729 1706 1992 2466 2714
Lincoln Brome 1958 1461 1818 2205 2459 2342
Russian Wildrye 1958 941 1111 1224 1613 1984
Nordan Crested 1959 1416 1827 2120 1737 2011
Intermediate Whtgr. 1959 1033 1372 1244 1468 1325
Lincoln Brome 1959 936 1465 1630 1421 1279
Russian Wildrye 1959 778 841 975 971 1086
Nordan Crested 1960 2134 2435 2910 2713 2714
Intermediate Whtgr. 1960 1395 1980 1877 2259 1998
Lincoln Brome 1960 1265 1610 2151 2283 2203
Russian Wildrye 1960 1287 1312 1710 1823 1997
Nordan Crested 1961 1036 1012 1187 1120 1108
Intermediate Whtgr. 1961 No yield - stand largely gone out
Lincoln Brome 1961 No yield - stand largely gone out
Russian Wildrye 1961 643 616 821 761 777

The four-year average yields are given in Table 15 for Nordan Crested wheatgrass and Russian wildrye. Satisfactory yields were obtained from the other two varieties only for the first three years of the trial, so these varieties are not included in the table. These data show that, for the four-year period, Nordan crested wheatgrass fertilized with 33 pounds of nitrogen per acre has produced enough additional hay to a little more than pay for the cost of the nitrogen. The additional production of Russian wildrye has not been enough to pay for the nitrogen on the basis of the average for the four-year period. These figures are based on hay values of one cent per pound and nitrogen costs of ten cents per pound.

It is apparent from the results of this trial that erratic responses to nitrogen may be expected, that there is little advantage in using more than 25 to 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre in annual fertilizer applications, and that some grasses (in this case Russian wildrye) may not make enough additional production to pay for the cost of the fertilizer. These conclusions apply primarily to the use of nitrogen for increasing hay production. There are a number of reasons for thinking that nitrogen may be more profitably used on pasture than on hayland in this area.

The production of the grass-alfalfa mixtures is probably lower than might be expected. There is now very little alfalfa in these mixtures, and less than 10 per cent of the 1961 yields of the mixtures was made up of alfalfa.

Stands containing a larger proportion of alfalfa in the mixture might well be expected to make better production than that obtained this season in this trial.

Table 15. Four-Year (1958-1961) Average Hay Yields from Nordan Crested Wheatgrass and Russian Wildrye in Pure Stands, in Mixture with Alfalfa, and in Pure Stands Fertilized with Nitrogen at Three Different Rates.
Grasses Dry-Weight Yield - Lbs./Acre
Grass
Alone
With
Alfalfa
33#N 67#N 100#N
Nordan Crested Whtgr. 1599 1743 2012 2015 2139
Russian Wildrye 912 970 1182 1292 1461

SPRING GRAZING TRIAL

The pastures in the spring grazing trial were grazed for the seventh season in 1961. The grazing period was short this year, the yearling steers being on the pastures only from May 24 to June 21, a period of 48 days. The crested-alfalfa pastures were stocked with eight yearling steers each, as in the past, and one crested wheatgrass pasture (Pasture #3) was stocked with six steers. Pasture #1, which was fertilized with 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre on April 10, 1961, was stocked with eight steers.

Table 16 summarizes pasture yields and forage utilization on the pastures in the 1961 season. It is apparent that the nitrogen application had very little influence in increasing production on Pasture #1 during the grazing period. There was a difference in appearance in the pastures, the fertilized crested wheatgrass being a darker green, but actual production was not influenced much. The data show that during the grazing period, the fertilized pasture produced 884 pounds of forage per acre (dry weight), while the unfertilized pasture produced 852 pounds per acre. Crested-alfalfa Pasture #2 produced 812 pounds per acre, and the crested-alfalfa Pasture #4 produced 958 pounds of forage per acre. There is not much alfalfa left in the crested-alfalfa pastures, and what is present made very poor growth in the 1961 season.

There were appreciable differences in the degree of utilization on the various pastures. Pastures #1 and #2 were heavily utilized, Pasture #2 being especially so, with only 27 pounds per acre of grazable forage left on the ground. Pastures #3 and #4 were somewhat less heavily utilized than the other two.

Table 16. Forage Produced and Forage Utilized on Pastures by Yearling Steers in the Spring Grazing Trial in the 1961 Season.
Pasture
No.
Pasture Type Forage
produced -
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
Forage
utilized-
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
Forage left
on ground-
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
1 Crested Wheatgrass* 884 748 136
3 Crested Wheatgrass 852 647 205
Average 1 & 3 868 697 171
2 Crested-Alfalfa 812 785 27
4 Crested-Alfalfa 958 725 233
Average 2 & 4 885 755 130
*50 pounds of nitrogen applied per acre to Pasture 1 on April 10, 1961.

Table 17 summarizes the data on yield and forage consumption on the pastures for the seven-year period of the study. The forage data from fertilized Pasture #1 are not included in the summary for 1960 and 1961. Thus the data of the table represent the averages for straight crested wheatgrass pastures and for crested-alfalfa pastures. It is apparent from these data that, despite the dry season, crested wheatgrass produced quite well. The season's production of 852 pounds of forage per acre compares favorably with the seven-year average production of 933 pounds per acre for straight crested wheatgrass. The production in 1956 of 743 pounds per acre was less than the production of straight crested in the 1961 season.

Production on the crested-alfalfa pastures, however, was the lowest this season for the seven-year period. The average production for the two crested-alfalfa pastures of 885 pounds per acre was appreciably less than the seven-year average yield of 1,166 pounds per acre. This low production is primarily a reflection of the drought situation, but is in part related to the decreasing importance if alfalfa in the mixtures.

Table 17. Seven-Year Summary of Forage Produced and Utilized on Spring Grazing Trial Pastures - 1955-1961.
Pasture
Nos.
Pasture Type Year Forage produced-
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
Forage
utilized-
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
Forage left
on ground-
lbs./acre
(dry-weight)
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1955 962 817 145
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1956 743 556 187
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1957 1046 827 219
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1958 902 756 146
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1959 1046 713 333
3* Crested Wheatgrass 1960 981 821 160
3* Crested Wheatgrass 1961 852 647 205
7-Year Average 933 734 199
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1955 1429 969 460
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1956 1020 756 264
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1957 1415 1231 184
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1958 1102 930 172
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1959 1110 870 240
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1960 1200 1055 145
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1961 885 755 130
7-Year Average 1166 938 228

Table 18 gives the animal data obtained on the pastures during the 1961 season. The average seasonal gains per head were slightly better on crested wheatgrass Pasture #3 than on any of the other pastures. The seasonal gain per head here was 111 pounds. On fertilized crested wheatgrass the seasonal gain was 107 pounds; on crested-alfalfa Pasture #2, 82 pounds; and on crested-alfalfa Pasture #3, 103 pounds. The gains per acre this year were 107.0 pounds on fertilized crested, 82.2 pounds on straight crested wheatgrass, 82.0 pounds on crested-alfalfa Pasture #2, and 103.0 pounds on crested-alfalfa Pasture #4. The fertilized crested wheatgrass pasture thus produced the greatest gain per acre, although this gain was only slightly better than the gain per acre on the best crested-alfalfa pasture.

Table 18. Performance of Yearling Steers on Crested Wheatgrass and Crested Wheatgrass-Alfalfa Pastures During Spring Grazing Period from May 4 to June 21, 1961. (Weights and gains in lbs.)
Pasture
No.
Pasture Type No. of Steers Acres per Pasture Days
on Pasture
Avg. initial wt./steer Avg. final wt./steer Avg. seasonal gain/head Avg.
daily gain/head
Gain
per
acre
1 Crested Whtgr.* 8 8 48 516 623 107 2.23 107.0
3 Crested Whtgr. 6 8 48 525 636 111 2.31 83.2
 
2 Crested-Alfalfa 8 8 48 514 596 82 1.71 82.0
4 Crested-Alfalfa 8 8 48 515 618 103 2.15 103.0
*Pasture #1 fertilized with 50 pounds nitrogen per acre.

Table 19 summarizes the animal data obtained on the pastures during the seven-year period of the study. Data from fertilized Pasture #1 are not included in this summary. The seven-year averages clearly show the superiority of the crested-alfalfa pastures over the straight crested wheatgrass pastures in the production of pounds of beef per acre. It should be pointed out that as the trial has proceeded and the alfalfa has become less vigorous in the mixture pastures, the differences in production between the crested wheatgrass and the crested wheatgrass-alfalfa pastures have become much less. However, over the seven-year period of the trial, the crested wheatgrass-alfalfa pastures have produced an average of 32.5 per cent more beef per acre than the straight crested wheatgrass pastures.

Table 19. Seven-Year Summary of Weights and Gains of Yearling Steers on Crested Wheatgrass and Crested Wheatgrass-alfalfa Pastures, 1955-1961.
Pasture No. Pasture Type Year No. Steers
on Pasture
Days
on Pasture
Avg. Initial
Wt. Per Steer Lbs.
Avg. Final Wt. Per Steer Lbs. Avg. Seasonal
Gain Per Head Lbs.
Avg. Daily Gain Per
Head Lbs.
Gain
Per
Acre
Lbs.
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1955 7 51 494 568 74 1.44 64.3
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1956 6 45 520 601 81 1.79 60.3
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1957 6 60 478 622 144 2.40 107.7
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1958 6 63 555 680 127 2.02 95.3
1 & 3 Crested Wheatgrass 1959 6 52 528 666 138 2.64 103.2
3* Crested Wheatgrass 1960 6 73 523 658 135 1.85 101.2
3* Crested Wheatgrass 1961 6 48 525 636 111 2.31 83.1
  7-Year Average   6 56 518 633 115 2.06 87.9
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1955 7 51 494 600 106 2.06 92.2
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1956 8 45 520 616 96 2.14 96.3
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1957 9 60 498 639 141 2.35 158.1
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1958 8 63 550 682 132 2.10 132.0
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1959 8 52 523 636 113 2.17 112.5
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1960 8 73 521 658 137 1.88 137.0
2 & 4 Crested-Alfalfa 1961 8 48 514 608 94 1.96 94.0
  7-Year Average   8 56 517 634 117 2.09 117.4
*Pasture #1 not included because of fertilizer treatment.

Table 20 contrasts forage production and beef gains per acre for the last three years on straight crested wheatgrass, on crested-alfalfa, and on crested wheatgrass fertilized with 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre. These data show that on the average for the three-year period fertilized crested wheatgrass has produced about 26 per cent more forage than straight crested wheatgrass, and about 10 per cent more than crested and alfalfa. Beef production per acre on fertilized crested has averaged about 41 per cent more than on straight crested, and about 18 per cent more than crested and alfalfa.

The increase in forage production would not pay for the cost of the fertilizer, with forage figured at one cent per pound and fertilizer at ten cents per pound. However, the extra beef produced, figured at 20 cents per pound, would be substantially profitable as between straight crested and fertilized crested. Comparing increased beef production between fertilized crested and crested-alfalfa pastures the return would be near the break-even point. From the results obtained so far, it would appear that substantial increases in beef production are possible through the use of nitrogen on crested wheatgrass pasture, but in the long run the lower costs involved in using crested wheatgrass-alfalfa pasture may prove more profitable.

Table 20. Forage Production and Gains Per Acre on Spring Grazing Trial Pastures of Crested Wheatgrass, Crested Wheatgrass and Alfalfa, and Crested Wheatgrass plus 50 Pounds of Nitrogen.
Pasture Type Year Forage
Production-
Lbs./acre
Gain
Per Acre
Lbs.
Crested Wheatgrass 1959 940 103.2
Crested Wheatgrass 1960 981 101.2
Crested Wheatgrass 1961 852 83.1
3-Year Average 924 95.8
Crested and Alfalfa 1959 1110 112.5
Crested and Alfalfa 1960 1200 137.0
Crested and Alfalfa 1961 885 94.0
3-Year Average 1065 114.5
Crested + 50 Lbs. N 1959 1153 133.0
Crested + 50 Lbs. N 1960 1476 165.0
Crested + 50 Lbs. N 1961 884 106.9
3-Year Average 1171 135.0

NEW PASTURE SEEDING

A new pasture trial to compare the value of straight crested wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass and alfalfa, and crested wheatgrass with nitrogen fertilizer was begun in the fall of 1961. Nordan crested wheatgrass was seeded on a 48-acre piece of land directly east across the road from the present spring grazing trial. Duplicate crested wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass and alfalfa, and fertilized crested wheatgrass pastures will be established on this seeding. The alfalfa for the mixture pastures will be seeded in the spring of 1962. It is hoped that grazing can be started on these pastures in the spring of 1963.

In addition, land was selected for a new trial on summer grazing using Russian wildrye and Lincoln brome pastures. The land will be uniformly cropped this year in preparation for a pasture seeding, probably to be made in the fall of 1963.

PERSONAL ACTIVITIES

Correspondence: Twenty-seven letters were written in the conduct of business relating to the Dickinson Station.

Radio Programs and TV Shows:

Radio Programs
April 19, 1961 Fertilizing Grass (recording)
May 19, 1961 Pasture Fertilization
June 8, 1961 Time of Cutting Hay
July 13, 1961 Varieties of Crested Wheatgrass
August 17, 1961 Poisonous Plants
October 5, 1961 Grass Yields (recording)

TV Programs
February 22, 1961 TV Short Course (WDAY)

Public Meetings:

Date Meeting Attendance Participation
2/27/61 Kiwanis Farmers' Night, Dickinson 80 50 minutes on grassland agriculture
5/15/61 Livestock Feeders' Committee 25 Discussion
7/12/61 Dickinson Crops Field Day 250 Half-day of tours
7/18/61 4-H Camp Field Trip 56 Half-day plant identification
7/19/61 Dickinson State Teachers College Conservation Class 35 50 minutes on grassland agriculture
10/28/61 Federal Land Bank Assoc., Mandan 36 Grassland values
10/29/61 Federal Land Bank Assoc., Napoleon 19 Grassland values
11/21/61 North Dakota Crop Imp. Conference, Jamestown 200 Grassland potentials
12/6/61 Livestock Research Roundup 1350 Tour and 15 minutes on grasses
12/16/61 Burleigh County Crop Imp. Association 60 Pasture in the feeding program

Scientific Conferences:

Date Meeting Attendance Participation
1/31 - 2-3-61 American Society of Range Management, Salt Lake City, Utah 800 Attended sessions
2/16-17/61 GP-6 Range Research Committee, Denver, Colorado 16 Preparing range project
3/9/61 Weather Bureau Conference 15 Discussion of frost occurrence data
5/5-6/61 North Dakota Academy of Science, Grand Forks 70 15-minute paper on grassland micro-climate
7/13-15/61 America Society of Range Management, Northern Plains Section, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan 85 Range field trip
8/10/61 Great Plains Range Weed Committee, Omaha, Nebraska 17 Helped prepare weed project
8/27-30/61 Ecological Society of America, Purdue University, Indiana 220 Attended symposium on climate and plant growth

Publications:

Whitman, W. C., D. Petersen, and T. J. Conlon. 1961. Results of Clipping Trials with Cool-Season Grasses; North Dakota Farm Research 22: 9-14.