Spring establishment of orchardgrass and tall fescue seed crops with cereal companion crops Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nz806200v

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  • Orchardgrass and tall fescue seed crops are commonly springplanted in Oregon, but do not produce a marketable crop during the first growing season. Establishing orchardgrass and tall fescue with cereal companion crops would provide income during the seeding year and could increase seed production profits. This study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of establishing orchardgrass and tall fescue seed crops with spring wheat, barley, and oats, and to examine the morphological, physiological, seed yield, and economic responses to competition with cereals. 'Hallmark' orchardgrass and 'Bonanza' tall fescue were interplanted with 'Waverly' wheat, 'Steptoe' barley, and 'Cayuse' oats in 15- and 30-cm rows at right angles to grass rows in March 1985 and 1986 near Corvallis, OR. Spring cereals reduced the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) available for grass seedling growth, causing transient increases in chlorophyll content and lower soil temperatures. Soil water content was also depleted, causing increased stomatal resistance and lower transpiration rate. Reductions in PPFD and soil water were responsible for poor stand establishment and grass crop growth. The negative effects on seedling establishment persisted after cereal harvest and delayed grass regrowth until the following spring, resulting in low fertile tiller populations. Consequently, first-year orchardgrass seed yields were reduced by 40 and 53% in the two trials, whereas first-year tall fescue seed yields were reduced by 61% in both trials. First-year seed yields were similarly reduced by all three cereals. Second-year orchardgrass seed yield was not influenced by companion cropping, but second-year tall fescue yield increased by 15%. Cereal row spacing had no effect on grass seed crop growth, physiology, or seed yield. Seeding orchardgrass with spring wheat in 30-cm rows increased net income by $212 per hectare over a 3-year period under average crop market conditions while tall fescue planted with spring oats in 30-cm rows earned $139 per hectare more than planting alone. Drier than normal conditions increased competitive effects of cereals, reducing first-year seed yields and economic return. Irrigation or fall planting may be the key to more favorable returns from companion cropping of orchardgrass and tall fescue.
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