e-mail: paivi.nykanen-kurki[a]mtt.fi 2Elomestari Ltd., Koskitie 185, FIN-95520 Kukkola, Finland
3MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Ecological Production, Huttulantie 1, FIN-51900 Juva, Finland
In 1998-2001, 19 forage legume species (Lupinus albus, Lupinus angustifolius, Lupinus luteus,Medicago littoralis, Medicago scutellata, Melilotus albus, Melilotus officinalis, Pisum arvense, Pisum sativa, Trifolium alexandrum, Trifolium hybridum, Trifolium incarnatum, Trifolium repens, Trifolium resupinatum,Trifolium subterraneum, Vicia faba, Vicia pannonica, Vicia sativa and Vicia villosa) were evaluated at two sites of Eastern Finland (Mikkeli 61o40’N, 27o10’E and Juva 6053N 2753E). Except Trifolium repens and Pisum sp. one variety or ecotype per species was included. Following varieties were used: Kuusiku(Melilotus albus),Arvika, Lisa, Sunna and Timo (Pisum sp.), Frida(Trifolium hybridum), Contea (Trifolium incarnatum), AberHerald, Espanso and Gigante Lodigiano (Trifolium repens), Accadia(Trifolium resupinatum), Kontu (Vicia faba), Ebena (Vicia sativa) and Viola (Vicia villosa).
Species were sown in the beginning of June on fine sand moraine with pH of 5,6-6,6 in Juva and on coarser fine sand with pH of 6,3 in Mikkeli. Species were studied for their annual productivity in pure stands and in mixtures with cereals (barley and oats) and Italian ryegrass. Swards were cut either twice (pasture/silage stage of herbage) or once (whole grain silage stage of barley) per year. The experimental design was a randomised block design. No mineral fertiliser was used.
Among pure sown legumes, Vicia sp. produced the best dry matter yield in Mikkeli. Dry matter yield of Vicia sativa and Vicia villosa averaged 3700 kg ha-1 and their mixture 4500 kg ha-1. Dry matter yield of Ladino type Trifolium repenscv.Gigante Lodigiano and Melilotus officinalis averaged 2780 kg ha-1. Dry matter production of other Trifolium species averaged 2000 kg ha-1 and that of Medicago species 1200 kg ha-1, respectively. Lupinus did not perform at all due to its demand for a long growing period. Chenopodium album and Elymus repens dominated among weeds.
In mixtures, barley was productive in early summer and Italian ryegrass was needed as a companion grass for legumes in autumn. Both of them were controlling weeds efficiently in legume mixtures. Vicia sp. was dominating in multi legume mixtures. Vicia mixture produced the best dry matter yield under cutting, which was in agreement with results of recent studies in Finland. Total dry matter yield of Vicia mixtures averaged 6760 kg ha-1 and that of legume in mixture 3960 kg ha-1, respectively. Legume production did not differ between Vicia sativa and Vicia villosa mixtures. Also mixture including both Vicia species produced similarly. Increasing number of legumes seemed to improve neither legume nor total dry matter production. Trifolium repens developed too slowly to give a remarkable contribution to mixture (at the highest 250 kg ha-1). The best contribution of Trifolium resupinatum in a mixture was 960 kg ha-1 dry matter.
In one cut silage system, dry matter production averaged 5300 kg ha-1 in barley-Italian ryegrass-Pisum and in barley-Italian ryegrass-Vicia mixtures. Legume production in the best Pisum mixture (cv. Lisa 3210 kg ha-1) was even better than that of the best Vicia one (Vicia sativa 2520 kg ha-1). Legume production averaged 1700 kg ha-1 in Vicia faba mixture. Vicia villosa was productive still in autumn. Cereal-Italian ryegrass mixture performed well as a basis of all mixtures.
Vicia and Pisum species were the most promising genera for annual forage production under cutting. But Vicia and Trifolium species will be in the first place for the investigation under grazing.