Effects of cutting frequency on alfalfa yield and yield components in Songnen Plain, Northeast China
The productivity and quality of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is strongly influenced by cutting frequency (F). To clarify that the yield and quality of alfalfa if affected by F, an experiment was conducted on Songnen Plain in Northeast China to investigate the responses of yield components and quality to 3 cutting frequencies (F30, F40 and F60) among 3 cultivars (C) (Longmu, Aohan, Zhaodong). Result from two consecutive years showed that cutting frequency had a greater effect on reducing forage yield and
yield components at F40. Cultivars had no effect on 2-year total forage yield and alfalfa quality. Alfalfa at the F40 always had higher crude protein (CP), and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) than F30 and F60 treatments. The interaction (C×F) on forage yield and components (CP and NDF) was not significant. This study provides evidence that: i) 40-day intervals can be advocated for cultivars growing in Northeast China; and ii) at F40 utilization, Longmu is a well-adapted alfalfa variety in the Songnen Plain
because of higher yield and quality under three cuttings.
Key words: Alfalfa, cutting frequency, yield, quality, Songnen Plain.