Evaluation of perennial grass mixtures of different species and varieties in the central part of Latvia introduced from other European countries
LUA Research Institute of Agriculture, 7 Zemkopibas instituts, Skriveri, Skriveruregion, Latvia, LV-5125;e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Forage grasses growing in the wild and cultivated in fields represent many species with various properties. Scientists at the LUA Research Institute of Agriculture have for many years performed purposeful breeding work with the aim of originating new, highly productive cultivars of different grassland species with good forage quality suitable for growing under Latvia’s climatic conditions, as well as being competitive in the EU countries. A field trial was sown in 2007 to evaluate our new cultivars in the poly-component mixtures with diploid and tetraploid varieties of forage grasses and mixtures offered by other companies and countries. Twenty-two multiform grassland mixtures for cutting and pastures were compared. The test results proved that it is possible to obtain two full cuttings from these mixtures in the sowing year under good climatic conditions; the most productive mixtures yielded 8 t ha-1 DM and more. In the first year, with three cuts, DM yields ranged within 8.89–16.11 t ha-1 the highest DM yields were obtained from mixtures with the newest perennial grass cultivars of the Research Institute. The average DM yields for better swards (SK-1, SK-2, SK-3, P/2) were above 10 t ha-1 in three years. The mixtures with white clover and rhizomatous low grasses proved to be most winter-hardy. The highest protein content and digestibility in the first year of use were the characteristic features of cutting mixtures SK-5 and P/1, but in the second year, it was found in mixtures for grazing Dot-21, Dot-24, SK-6 and G-2.