Evaluation of biomass yield and growth performance of alfalfa and oat cultivars in the high land of Arsi, Ethiopia
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Arsi University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, PO Box 193, Asella, Ethiopia
The major objective of this study was to investigate the effect of intercropping alfalfa with oat on growth rate, total forage dry matter yield and nitrogen yield. Alfalfa cultivars with or without oat was grown on finely prepared seed beds. The experimental seed was planted on 12 m2 plot (4 m long and 3 m wide), consisted of 10 rows with intra-row spacing of 0.3m. The plots were laid out in Randomized complete block design (RCBD) with five replications per treatment. Data on biomass yield and other yield related traits was subjected to the analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure for RCBD experiments using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of SAS computer software packages. The result of this experiment has shown that the total forage dry matter yield harvested from plots containing a mixture of alfalfa and oat was higher (P<0.05) than other plots containing pure stands of alfalfa and oat. The analysis also indicated that the dry matter yield per area of land was much greater for oat grown with alfalfa than oat grown without alfalfa. In this trial, the leaf to stem ratio of alfalfa and oat plant grown alone was statistically similar (P>0.05) to those grown in a mixture. The average plant height of.alfalfa and oat plant grown in separate plot was not differed (P>0.05) from those grown in a mixture on same plot under this experiment. The chemical analysis result has implied that the dry matter content of each plant (alfalfa and oat) grown in a mixture was higher than those plant grown separately. Likewise, the crude protein content of oat grown with alfalfa on the same plots was improved as compared to those oats plants grown alone in separate plots which could be achieved from the symbiotic relationship between the two plants grown in mixture. In general, the higher quality forage obtained from oat plants grown with alfalfa on the same plots, may be an important consideration for livestock producers. © 2015 Fundacion CIPAV. All rights reserved.