307-13 Winter Canola-Pea Mixed Cropping for Forage Production in the Southern High Plains.
Poster Number 922
The dairy and beef industry in the Southern High Plains heavily depend on grass type crops for forage supply. These crops require higher inputs and produce lower quality forage compared to broad leaf crops. Winter canola is a well adopted broad leaf alternative crop for the region that has shown to produce higher quality forage with less water compared to the traditional winter wheat. Growth habit of canola is also suitable for mixed cropping with vining legumes to improve resource use efficiency. However, information on forage production and forage quality of winter canola-pea mixed cropping is limited. Therefore, a field study was conducted at the New Mexico State University-Agricultural Science Center at Clovis in 2014-15 to compare different mixing ratios of canola and pea on forage production and quality under limited irrigation. Two winter canola cultivars (cvs. Safran and Riley) and an Austrian winter pea were planted at mixing ratios of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100 for canola and pea, respectively. Despite the different mixing ratios, total forage yield of mixtures (harvested at the early pod stage of canola and pea at early flowering stage) were the same as that of sole-canola. Legume contribution to the total forage production at mixing ratios of 25:75 and 50:50 ranged from 7 to 21 %. Similar to biomass, forage quality of the canola-pea mixture was not significantly different from that of the sole-canola. However, when harvesting was done at completion of pod production stage of canola and pea at early pod production stage), legumes contribution to the total biomass in above mentioned treatments increased substantially (17 to 27%). Total biomass of the different cropping systems were not significantly different. Nevertheless, the full benefit of canola-pea mixed cropping (yield and quality) maybe realized by adjusting the harvesting time of pea (full pod production stage) so that pea’s contribution to total yield is high enough for the system to improve the overall forage yield and quality. Forage quality analysis is underway and results will be discussed along with forage yield during the presentation. The trial will be repeated in 2015-16 season.