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Open AccessArticle

How Does Sowing Rate Affect Plant and Stem Density, Forage Yield, and Nutritive Value in Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa?

Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA
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Agronomy 2018, 8(9), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090169
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 21 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage and Bioenergy Crops)
The recommended sowing rate of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is about 10 kg pure live seed ha−1, but it is debated if increasing the sowing rate enhances forage yield and quality in the sowing year. This study was conducted to: (i) determine the optimal sowing rate to maximize forage yield; and (ii) determine the relationship between plant and stem density with forage yield and nutritive value. Experiments were conducted at three sites in North Dakota between 2013 and 2016. Six sowing rates [1, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 kg ha−1 pure live seed (PLS)] were evaluated. Results indicated that total forage yield in the sowing year was lower only with the lowest sowing rate. Maximum total forage yield in the sowing, first, second, and third production years was obtained with 73, 52, 37, and 36 plants m−2 and 575, 495, 435, and 427 stems m−2, respectively. In the sowing and first production year, both plant and stem density predicted forage yield similarly. In older stands, stem density predicted forage yield slightly better. Forage nutritive value was similar among sowing rates indicating an increase in sowing rate does not enhance forage nutritive value. In conclusion, increasing the sowing rate above the recommended rate (10 kg PLS ha−1) does not increase forage yield or quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: sowing rate; plant density; stem density; forage yield prediction; forage nutritive value sowing rate; plant density; stem density; forage yield prediction; forage nutritive value
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Berti, M.T.; Samarappuli, D. How Does Sowing Rate Affect Plant and Stem Density, Forage Yield, and Nutritive Value in Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa? Agronomy 2018, 8, 169.

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