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Use of regrowth for forage in seed crops of meadow fescue(Festuca pratensis Huds.)

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Different procedures for autumn management in crops of Festuca pratensis grown for seed, in particular the possibility of combining seed production with the production of forage in autumn, were examined in eleven experiments conducted between 1993 and 1996 at various locations in south-east Norway. Methods without intensive use of regrowth, such a nitrogen (N) fertilizer application (40 Kg N ha−1) on 10 the September, either separately or preceded by cutting on the same date, generally stimulated the subsequent number of reproductive tillers and seed yield compared with untreated plots (no N, no cuting). However, cutting before N fertilizer application on 10th September tended to have a nagative effect on seed yield in 1995–96, when a mild autumn was followed by a winter with extremely low temp ratures and no, or very little, snow cover. Maximizing regrowth, by the application of 80 kg N fertilizer ha−1 immediately after seed harvest, never impaired seed yield when a forage harvest was taken on 10 September but did so in 1995–96, when a forage harvest was delayed to 10 October. Additional N (40 kg −1) after a forage harvest did not significantly affect seed yield, although negative and positive tendencies were observed after harvesting in September and October respectively.

When forage harvesting was delayed from 10 September to 10 October, the average yields of dry matter (DM) increased, but the forage quality, especially the crude protein content, decreased. As a result of the high yields of DM obtained (on average 2250 kg −1 in September and 2610 kg−1 in October), use of regrowth may be of essential economic value for seed growers of Festuca pratensis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Apelsvoll Research Centre, Division Landvik, Grimstad, Norway

Publication date: 1998-06-01

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