Do irrigated companion oat crops reduce alfalfa yield and profits?
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
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Establishment of 'Anchor' alfalfa with a companion oat crop was compared to direct-seeding the alfalfa on a sprinkler-irrigated site in 1982, 1983, and 1985. 'Beaver' alfalfa was added to the treatments in 1983 and 1985. An oat crop monoculture treatment was also included. Alfalfa-oat mixtures exhibited significant (P < 0.05) oat grain yield reductions of 9, 24, and 18 % in the three seeding years, respectively. Oat forage yields tended to be reduced in oat-alfalfa mixtures by 3, 12, and 8 %, respectively, but these reductions were not statistically significant (P > 0. 05). The forage yields of direct-seeded alfalfa were 26, 20 and 20 % higher (significant at P < 0.05) in the first production year (year following seeding) than oat-alfalfa mixture stands. In the second production year, yields were 22 % higher (P < 0.05) only in the 1982 seeding. Establishment method effects on stand density were significant (P < 0. 05) in the 1982 and 1983 seedings where the direct-seeded alfalfa had 50 and 25 % higher plant densities, respectively. Economic analysis of net returns per hectare indicated that the establishment method with the best returns varied among the three seedings years.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
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