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Annual Cool-Season Forage Nutritive Value and Production after Overseeding into Bahiagrass Sod in Silvopastoral Systems

Bambo, Susan K., Blount, Ann R., Nowak, Jarek, Long, Alan J., Myer, Robert O., Huber, Dudley A.
Journal of sustainable agriculture 2009 v.33 no.8 pp. 917-934
Conservation Reserve Program, Pinus, forest trees, Trifolium incarnatum, in vitro digestibility, pastures, grazing, beef cattle, forage legumes, dry matter accumulation, forage grasses, Trifolium pratense, silvopastoral systems, forest thinning, crude protein, forest plantations, Lolium multiflorum, Florida
Significant acreage of pines planted by the Conservation Reserve Program has reached the age for pulp-wood thinning. This is an appropriate time to consider conversion from planted pine plantation to silvopasture systems to generate short-term cash flow from cattle. Little has been reported concerning tree configuration that is best suited for silvopasture in the southern Coastal Plain for winter forage production. This study examined the effects of tree configurations (silvopastures — (double-row and randomly thinned) and control - open pasture) and annual cool-season species ('Jumbo' ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), 'Dixie' crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) and 'Cherokee' red clover (Trifolium pretense L.) combinations on the yield and nutritive value of annual cool-season forages. Annual cool-season species combinations, which included ryegrass alone, ryegrass-crimson clover, and ryegrass-crimson-red clovers, were overseeded on 'Argentine' bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flgge.) sod in all systems in November of 2003 and 2004. Open pasture produced about 22% and 36% greater dry matter (DM) than the double-row, and randomly thinned, respectively, while the double-row treatment produced 18% more DM than randomly thinned treatment. Forages in silvopastures increased crude protein (CP) more than did open pasture. Ryegrass-clover(s) mixtures improved CP concentration and increased DM yield by 10% over ryegrass alone. In general, in vitro organic matter digestibilities of forages were similar in the tree configurations and the forage combinations. Annual cool-season forages with high digestibility (greater than 65%) and CP protein (18%) can be produced for livestock in silvopasture systems.