Effect of Cutting Frequency on Forage Yield and Regrowth Characteristics of Non-dormant Alfalfa.
The effects of cutting frequency on single-plant productivity as will as the relationship between regrowth characteristics and forage yield are not well defined in non-dormant alfalfa. This study was conducted to examine the short-term effects of cutting frequency and to determine the contribution of regrowth characteristics to forage yield in four diverse non-dormant cultivars. Regrowth measurements and forage yield were obtained on individual plants for three cutting frequencies every 21, 28 and 35 days growth. No significant differences were observed among cutting frequencies for total forage yield, stem number, stem length, recovery after harvest and total nonstructural carbohydrates in roots. Delay of harvest to 28 and 35 days resulted in a significant increase in stem yield, crown shoots and root weight over plants harvested at 21 days interval. The cultivar Hejazi was significantly greater than the other cultivars in crown shoots (75%), recovery after harvest (2.24 cm day-1) and stem length (45 cm). Path-coefficient analysis revealed that stem yield and stem number (stubble and crown) contribute the highest direct effect to forage yield.