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Establishment and production of common sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) in the UK. 1. Effects of sowing date and autumn management on establishment and yield

Liu, Z., Lane, G.P.F., Davies, W.P.
Grass and forage science 2008 v.63 no.2 pp. 234-241
Onobrychis viciifolia, autumn, crop yield, crude protein, cutting, sowing date, sward, weeds, United Kingdom
The effects of sowing date and autumn management of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) were investigated over 3 years in the UK. Replicated plots were sown between April and September in 2003 and 2004. Autumn management treatments were early and late cutting carried out in the establishment year and in subsequent years. Dry matter (DM) yields were measured over 3 years. One harvest was taken from April to July sowings in the establishment year and three harvests in each of the following years. DM yields from sowings in April and May were 2·8 and 3·3 t DM ha⁻¹, respectively, in the establishment year, which were higher (P < 0·001) than from sowings in June and July. Sowings from April to July yielded 10·9-12·5 t DM ha⁻¹ in the first full-harvest year, and 9·5-11·5 t DM ha⁻¹ in the following year. Sowings in August and September only gave 5 t DM ha⁻¹ year⁻¹. Early-autumn cutting of an established sward reduced yields of sainfoin at the second harvest in the first and second full-harvest years. Sowing in May had the lowest proportion of weed species (0·06) in the establishment year, and sowing in July had the highest (0·53). Crude protein concentration increased as the seasons progressed from 149·8 to 230·1 g kg⁻¹ DM.