Title: Multi-cutting improves forage yield and nutritional value and maintains the soil nutrient balance in a rainfed agroecosystem
Authors: Tengfei Li, Luxi Peng, Hua Wang, Yu Zhang, Yingxin Wang, Yunxiang Cheng, Fujiang Hou*
Journal: Frontiers in Plant Science
Impact factor: IF2021 = 5.753
Abstract: Increasing forage yield and nutritional quality under the premise of maintaining relatively stable land area and soil nutrient content is a necessary condition for the sustainable development of grassland animal husbandry. Different cutting models [simulated grazing (SG), hay harvesting (H)] of oat (Avena sativa), common vetch (Vicia sativa) and their mixture (Avena sativa+Vicia sativa) were studied on the Loess Plateau. The results show that (1) SG could increase forage yield, crude protein, and crude fat content and decrease crude ash content. In 2014, the yield of Avena sativa per hectare was 3,578.11?kg higher than that of H; (2) the model analysis for predicting nutritional components showed that the Crude protein (CP) and EE contents of forages in each variety (combination) showed a linear downward trend with increasing forage yield. Redundancy analysis showed that precipitation, especially in the growing season, was positively correlated with grass yield and CP content; and (3) there were significant differences in soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, NO3?-N, and NH4+-N contents for the different forage varieties (combinations) under different use modes; the values first decreased, then increased, and finally decreased. According to the comprehensive evaluation value calculated by Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution, mixed sowing was better than monoculture, and SG obtained better results than H. Overall, mixed sowing under SG can improve forage yield and nutritional quality. At the same time, precipitation regulation is the key factor affecting the production performance of rainfed cultivated grassland on the Loess Plateau.