Performance of forage crops on a drained saline seep
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The performance of six alfalfa cultivars and three grasses was evaluated on the basis of yield from field plots on an under-drained saline seep in southern Alberta. Yields were also evaluated as a function of mean annual and seasonal water-table depth. The study encompassed three cropping years after an initial crop establishment year. Treatment yields were normalized on an annual and a total cropping-year basis for the performance evaluation. Normalized annual yields of subplots were used to determine the relationship between crop yield and water-table depth. Results showed that the best performing alfalfa cultivar was Trek while Beaver was second best. Yields of Trek and Beaver were significantly different at P < 0.05 from that of Drylander. The optimum mean annual water-table depth for maximum yield of alfalfa cultivars ranged between 1.55 and 1.68 m. Of the grasses tested, tall wheatgrass (TWG) greatly out-performed Altai wild rye and slender wheatgrass (significant at P < 0.05). An optimum mean annual water-table depth at about 1.3 m or greater equated with maximum yield of the grasses.
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