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Newton de Lucena Costa, Carlos Alberto Gonçalves, and José Ribamar da Cruz

Oliveira. EMBRAPA/Centro de Pesquisa Agroflorestal de Rondônia, Caixa Postal 406,
78.900-970, Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil.

Response of Desmodium gyroides to cutting frequency

In perennial forage legumes, cutting frequency profoundly affects forage yields, nu-
tritive value, regrowth potential, and species survival. However, there is little information
on comparative management systems most appropriate for optimum growth of Desmodium
gyroides in Rondônia state. The aim of this trial was to compare the effect of cutting fre-
quency on dry matter yield and crude protein content of D. gyroides CIAT-3001.

The trial was conducted under field conditions without supplemental irrigation at the
Experimental Station of Porto Velho, Rondônia. Annual rainfall averaging 2200 mm was
measured from October 1987 to November 1989. The soil was a clayey, yellow Latosol
(Oxisol), with pH (water 2:1) 5.2, P 2 mg/kg, Al 1.4 cmol/dm3, Ca + Mg 2.1 cmol/dm3, and
K 79 mg/kg. The experimental design was randomized blocks with three replicates. Basal
fertilization was applied just below the seeds as triple superphosphate at a rate of 22 kg P/
ha. The treatments consisted of four cutting frequency (21, 42, 63, and 84 days). Treatment
plot size was 5 m x 3.2 m, and the legume was planted in lines at 0.8 m spacing. The
intensity of cutting was 50 cm stubble height. Forage was harvested 34, 16, 12, or 8 times at
21, 42, 63, and 84 days cutting frequency during the experimental period. At each harvest,
forage was separed into edible forage (leaves, flowers, and branches with diameter less than
6 mm) of total biomass production. Fresh harvested material was weighed, and two
subsamples per plot were dried to constant moisture at 65°C to determine percent of dry
matter (DM). Also, total N (micro-kjeldhal) was determined in both fractions.

Total biomass and edible forage were significantly affected by cutting frequency
(Table 1). The data indicate that forage production increased when the harvest interval was
increased from 21 to 63 days. The proportion of stems to leaves increased with less frequent
cutting. For both fractions, the higher DM yields were obtained with cutting frequency at
63 days (35.88 and 19.73 t/ha). These forage yields were higher those reported for D. gyroides
by Lazier (1981), Rivera (1985), and Ara and Schaus (1985). The forage yields obtained at
the 21-day cutting interval were the lowest. For total biomass production, it was found that
the 21-day cutting frequency showed the maximum crude protein concentration. However,
cutting frequency at 63 days provided higher crude protein yields. For edible forage, crude
protein content was not significantly affected by cutting frequency; however, there were
significant differences among crude protein yields. The highest yields were obtained with
cutting frequency at 63 and 84 days. This result agrees with the work of Lazier (1981).
We found that cutting frequency at 63 days is optimal for D. gyroides CIAT-3001 to
obtain maximum yields of rich forage in Porto Velho.

Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Research Reports—Vol. 2 (1997) 41

08 b 5. Lazier.776 b 63 35. 1981. vol. Colombia.07 a 3. 1985.92 a 3. In: Reunión de la Red Internacional de Evaluación de Pastos Tropicales. Effect of cutting frequency on total biomass production. Rondônia.10 a 3.64 b 13. vol.829 b 42 26. 3. Central America.Table 1.C.R. p. crude protein content. 42 Forest. Total biomass production Edible forage Cutting frequency DM yield Crude protein DM yield Crude protein (days) t/ha % kg/ha t/ha % kg/ha 21 20. 3. 2 (1997) . 965–985.553 b 17.353 c 15. E. Brazil. Schaus..73 a 19. Establecimiento y producción de gramíneas y leguminosas forrajeras en Tingo Maria..88 a 15. 2. 1017– 1032. Rivera. Memórias. Cali. 1985.62 c 18. 1987–89. Peru. Establecimiento y producción de gramíneas y leguminosas forrajeras en Yurimaguas..762 a 84 32.83 d 16. edible forage.52 b 18.36 b 3.25 a 2.09 bc 17. Cali.. M.A.. Farm. Memórias.851 bc 16.410 a 19. Colombia..11 a 2.95 c 4. and R. Effect of cutting height and frequency on dry matter production of Codariocalix gyroides (syn. Peru. and yield of Desmodium gyroides CIAT-3001 in Porto Velho. Tropi- cal Grasslands 15(1):10–16. Colombia.82 c 14. Cali. Colombia.315 a Means followed by the same letters are not significantly different at the 5% probability by Duncan´s test References Ara. 2. In: Reunión de la Red Internacional de Evaluación de Pastos Tropicales.. Cali. and Community Tree Research Reports—Vol. J. Desmodium gyroides) in Belize.. p..