Agriculture, Pêche et Aquaculture
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  The Evaluation of Alfalfa Cultivars Under Hay and Pasture Management Systems

Y.A. Papadopoulos1, R. Thériault2, M.Price3, K.D.McRae4, E.A.Clark5, K.M. Thomas6, S.A.E. Fillmore4 and E. Charmley7
(Partner: Moncton Soils and Crops Improvement Association)

Abstract: Alfalfa is an important and reliable hay crop for New Brunswick. In Canada, alfalfa is not generally considered suitable for pasture management. However, studies under Maritime conditions have concluded that alfalfa is capable of superior yield in mixtures under rotational grazing. This study evaluates commercially available alfalfa and new experimental alfalfa synthetics under both hay and pasture management regimes. Ten alfalfa cultivars, including several grazing and hay?type cultivars, were seeded in mixtures with Richmond timothy. Three management regimes were imposed at the Nappan Research Farm: low residual grazing height, high residual grazing height, and hay. Six replicates of the hay treatment were seeded on farm in New Brunswick, three in 1997 and 1998. Over the two dry growing seasons, the pasture management, specifically the high residual grazing height treatment, was the most productive. Over two production years, mixtures containing Apica or Arrow produced more alfalfa on average than the others in the study, regardless of management regime. Alfalfa cultivars selected specifically for grazing were not superior to those selected for general adaptability to New Brunswick soil and climatic conditions.

1Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, CLRC, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7M8
2Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Moncton, NB E1C 8R3
3Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
4Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, AFHRC, Kentville, NS B4N 1J5
5University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
6Cumberland County Soils and Crops Improvement Association, Nappan, NS B0L 1C0
7Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, CLRC, Nappan, NS B0L 1C0

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