Fodder galega (Galega orientalis Lam) grass potential as a forage and bioenergy crop
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Fodder galega (Galega orientalis Lam.) is a forage legume that has been grown in Estonia for almost forty five years. Pure galega is known to be persistent, high-yielding crop and rich in nutrients, in particular crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF). Galega is usually grown in a mixture with grass in order to optimize its nutrient concentration, increase dry matter (DM) yield and improve fermentation properties. The trial plots were established on a typical soddy-calcareous soil. There are certain grass species suitable for the mixture. In this study galega mixtures with reed canary grass cv. ‘Marathon’, timothy cv. ‘Tika’, red fescue cv. ‘Kauni’ and festulolium cv. ‘Hykor’ were under investigation in three successive years (2013–2015). In order to increase competitiveness of grasses and the yield of the first cut, two N fertilization levels were used: N0 and N50 kg ha-1 . Two cuts were carried out during the growing season in all three years. The total dry matter yield varied from 9.1 to 12.8 t ha-1 . The NDF concentration in the DM varied from 495−559 g kg-1 . Both DM-yield and NDF were dependent on the year, mixture, cutting time and fertilization. Nitrogen fertilization (N50 kg ha-1 ) favoured grass growth and reduced the role of galega in the sward.