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Growth and development of hairy vetch cultivars in the Northeastern United States as influenced by planning and harvesting date

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Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) is a winter annual legume that has become an important cover crop for sustainable production systems. New cultivars of hairy vetch, developed in the southern United States, need to be tested as cover crops in the northeastern states. Research was conducted at three locations (Salisbury, MD; Beltsville, MD; and Freeville, NY) that represent a range from a relatively mild coastal climate to a colder interior climate. Four cultivars of hairy vetch (common and three cultivars developed at Auburn University, AU Early Cover, Advanced Population 8, and Advanced Population 26) were planted at either optimum or delayed dates, and biomass was harvested when either vegetative or flowering. Common hairy vetch biomass was equal to or higher than the Auburn cultivars at all locations and years. The Auburn cultivars were winter hardy under Maryland but not under New York conditions. The Auburn cultivars reached 50% flowering an average of 15 d earlier than common hairy vetch. Delaying planting by 2 to 3 wk reduced hairy vetch biomass by 43% when harvested vegetative and by 20% when harvested at flowering. Hairy vetch growth and development could be predicted on the basis of growing degree days (GDD) with a base temperature of 4 degrees C. The biomass of common hairy vetch increased linearly by 41 g m(-2) for every 100 GDD, and there was no significant difference in the slope of biomass gain between cultivars. Results suggest that the Auburn cultivars are an alternative for Maryland growers desiring a legume cover crop that flowers earlier than common hairy vetch but that delayed planting may compromise adequate winter ground cover and spring biomass regardless of cultivar.
Teasdale, J.R. , Devine, T.E. , Mosjidis, J.A. , Bellinder, R.R. , Beste, C.E.
Includes references
Agronomy journal 2004 Sept-Oct, v. 96, no. 5
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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