Intercropping Corn and Forage Sorghum for Forage Production in North Dakota

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1 Intercropping Corn and Forage Sorghum for Forage Production in North Dakota Dulan Samarappuli 1, Alfredo Aponte 1, Osvaldo Teuber 1, Russell Gesch 2, Dan Undersander 3, and Marisol Berti 1 1 Dep. of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND 2 Research Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS, Morris, MN 3 Extension and Research Forage Agronomist, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings 2014

2 Rationale Corn silage: preferred choice for dairy producers High yield and better nutritional quality But in some years and areas and in western ND most years: Not enough moisture to grow corn No irrigation What are the alternatives? Forage sorghum, intercropping..

3 Forage sorghum Rationale C4 plant: high biomass yield (15 Mg/ha dry matter in ND in average rainfall years) High water use efficiency (equal or greater biomass yields while using 33% less water than corn) Energy value between 80% to 90% compared with corn (due to less digestible stalk) Digestibility of forage sorghum has greatly improved (BMR varieties)

4 Intercropping Growing of two or more crops simultaneously on a single field for all or part of their growth cycle in a season Mixed : two or more crop species are grown without any distinct arrangements of rows Inter-row : different crop species are cultivated in separate alternate rows Within-row : If different crops were planted within the same row with varying seeding rates Relay: is when crops are grown in relay, where the growth cycles would overlap

5 Objectives The objective of this study was to compare different intercropping systems (mixed cultures) with monocultures of corn and forage sorghum to determine the most resilient production system in North Dakota

6 Materials and Methods Establishment: Locations: NDSU research site at Fargo, Prosper, and Carrington (ND) Years: 2013 and 2014 Experiment design: RCBD with three replicates Experimental unit: 9.1 x 2.7 m

7 Treatments Corn-sorghum inter-row Corn-sorghum within-row Sorghum monoculture Corn monoculture C1: Grain corn (hybrid 56J86VT3) C2: Silage corn (2MD95 RR) S1: Forage sorghum (Pampa verde) S2: Forage sorghum AF-7401 (dwarf BMR variety)

8 Materials and Methods Treatment Row spacing (cm) Density 1 C1 61 (4-rows) 86,450 pl./ha 2 C2 61 (4-rows) 86,450 pl./ha 3 S1 30 (8-rows) 86,450 pl./ha 4 S2 30 (8-rows) 86,450 pl./ha 5 C1 + S2 61 ½ + ½ 6 C1 + S1 61 ½ + ½ 7 C2 + S2 61 ½ + ½ 8 C2 + S1 61 ½ + ½ 9 C1 X S2 61 ½ + ½ 10 C1 X S1 61 ½ + ½ 11 C2 X S2 61 ½ + ½ 12 C2 X S1 61 ½ + ½ C1: Grain corn (hybrid 56J86VT3) C2: Silage corn (2MD95 RR) S1: Forage sorghum (Pampa verde) S2: Forage sorghum AF-7401 (dwarf BMR variety)

9 Materials and Methods Establishment: Seeding done on no-till soil on last week of May All plots fertilized with N: 80 kg N ha -1 (first week of July) Weed control: Hand weeded as needed Post-plant spraying of bromoxynil + fluroxypyr (0.26 kg a.i. ha -1 )

10 Materials and Methods Harvest last week of September Hand-harvest plants in the two-center rows Samples dried and ground Forage Quality: Crude protein (CP), Acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), Neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD), total digestible nutrients (TDN), In vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) Statistical Analysis: Analysis of variance and mean comparisons will be conducted using SAS procedures Treatment means separation will be determined by F-Protected LSD comparisons at the P 0.05 probability level

11 Results Corn-sorghum intercropping

12 Biomass yield (Mg ha -1 ) Biomass Yield abcd abc a cd abcd cd abc cd a bcd ab d C1 C2 S1 S2 C1-S2 inter row C1-S1 inter row C2-S2 inter row Treatment C2-S1 inter row C1-S2 within-row C1-S1 within-row C2-S2 within-row C2-S1 within-row Biomass yields were between 12.5 to 16.9 Mg ha -1 Monocultures with corn and forage sorghum-s1 not significantly different than mixtures with S2 (dwarf brachytic)

13 % of dry weight A AB Forage quality: CP and Starch A BC Grain corn Silage corn Non-BMR Sorghum A A A A D Treatment D BMR Sorghum AB Grain corn/bmr sorghum (inter.) A Grain corn/bmr sorghum (mixed.) CP Starch No differences among treatments for CP Starch: corn- sorghum(s2) are similar to corn monoculture Sorghum monocultures had the lowest starch content

14 % of dry weight Forage quality: NDF and ADF BCDE ABCD A AB EF F BC ABC A AB DE E ADF NDF 0.0 Grain corn Silage corn Non-BMR Sorghum Treatment BMR Sorghum Grain corn/bmr sorghum (inter.) Grain corn/bmr sorghum (mixed.) Grain corn-sorghum (S2) had the lowest NDF and ADF among all treatments

15 % of dry weight Forage quality: IVDMD and NDFD DE EF F BCD AB A BC BC D AB A A IVDMD NDFD Grain corn Silage corn Non-BMR Sorghum Treatment BMR Sorghum Grain corn/bmr sorghum (inter.) Grain corn/bmr sorghum (mixed.) IVDMD and NDFD highest in corn-sorghum (S2) compared with corn monocultures

16 % of dry weight Forage quality: TDN CD CDE Grain corn Silage corn Non-BMR Sorghum E Treatment DE BMR Sorghum AB Grain corn/bmr sorghum (inter.) A Grain corn/bmr sorghum (mixed.) TDN TDN highest in corn-sorghum (S2) mixtures

17 Conclusions There were no differences in biomass yields among corn monocultures and grain corn-bmr sorghum mixed cultures (inter-row and within-row). Forage quality (other than crude protein) was higher for treatments with grain corn-bmr forage sorghum inter-row and within-row treatments. Within-row and inter-row intercropping of grain corn and BMR dwarf forage sorghum can be a good alternative forage production system in North Dakota

18 Questions Comments Clarifications Thank You

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