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Article

Evaluation of Different Shallow Groundwater Tables and Alfalfa Cultivars for Forage Yield and Nutritional Value in Coastal Saline Soil of North China

by 1,†, 1,†, 2, 1,3, 1, 1,3 and 1,3,*
1
Key Laboratory of Agricultural Water Resources, Hebei Key Laboratory of Soil Ecology, CAS Engineering Laboratory for Efficient Utilization of Saline Resources, Center for Agricultural Resources Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050022, China
2
Rice Programme, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Kala Shah Kaku, Lahore 39020, Pakistan
3
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Othmane Merah
Life 2022, 12(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/life12020217
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 28 January 2022 / Accepted: 29 January 2022 / Published: 30 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Diversity and Ecology)
Freshwater shortage and soil salinization are the major constraints for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) growth in coastal salt–alkali soil of North China. In this study, we analyzed the effects of shallow groundwater tables and alfalfa cultivars on forage yield and nutritional value. A field simulation experiment was conducted during the growing season of 2019–2021 with three groundwater depths (80, 100, and 120 cm) and five alfalfa cultivars (Magnum 551, Phabulous, Zhongmu No. 1, Zhongmu No. 3, and WL525HQ) under subsurface pipe systems. Alfalfa forage was harvested six times in total during the growing season. Results revealed significant variation among alfalfa cultivars for forage yield at each shallow groundwater depth. The greatest forage yield was recorded in cultivar Phabulous (32.2 and 35.9 t ha−1 in 2020 and 2021) when planted at 100 cm shallow groundwater depth. Forage yield during the first harvest was 24.6–25.7%, exhibiting the highest ratio of the total annual yield. The effects of shallow groundwater depth, cultivar, and their interaction were significant (p < 0.01) on the turn-green ratio of alfalfa. Cultivar Zhongmu No. 1 had the highest turn-green ratio at the 100 cm groundwater depth, while cultivar WL525HQ showed the lowest turn-green ratio at each groundwater depth. Moreover, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF) content were also significantly affected by shallow groundwater depth, cultivars, and their interaction at different harvests. Cultivars Magnum551, Zhongmu No. 1, Zhongmu No. 3, and Phabulous furnished the highest CP, while cultivar WL525HQ performed the poorest in terms of CP in this study. These results propose that planting the cultivar Phabulous at a groundwater depth of 100 cm could be a suitable agronomic practice for alfalfa forage production in the coastal salt–alkali area of North China. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal saline soil; shallow groundwater depth; alfalfa cultivars; forage yield; nutritional value coastal saline soil; shallow groundwater depth; alfalfa cultivars; forage yield; nutritional value
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, S.; Guo, K.; Ameen, A.; Fang, D.; Li, X.; Liu, X.; Han, L. Evaluation of Different Shallow Groundwater Tables and Alfalfa Cultivars for Forage Yield and Nutritional Value in Coastal Saline Soil of North China. Life 2022, 12, 217. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12020217

AMA Style

Wang S, Guo K, Ameen A, Fang D, Li X, Liu X, Han L. Evaluation of Different Shallow Groundwater Tables and Alfalfa Cultivars for Forage Yield and Nutritional Value in Coastal Saline Soil of North China. Life. 2022; 12(2):217. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12020217

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Shichao, Kai Guo, Asif Ameen, Dong Fang, Xiaolin Li, Xiaojing Liu, and Lipu Han. 2022. "Evaluation of Different Shallow Groundwater Tables and Alfalfa Cultivars for Forage Yield and Nutritional Value in Coastal Saline Soil of North China" Life 12, no. 2: 217. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12020217

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