Tropical Grasslands (2000) Volume 34, 177–179

Grass, grass + legume or legume leys: a South African experience

NORMAN RETHMAN

Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

As a result of increasing interest in the potential role of planted pastures as leys in rotational cropping systems, the residual effects of weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) with and without nitrogen, lucerne (Medicago sativa) and grass + legume pastures on a following maize crop (Zea mays) were compared. In the absence of a continuous maize control, it was notable that maize yields on all treatments were at least 100% better than the regional average. In the first year after ley, the best results were from pure lucerne and mixed pasture, but the latter (lucerne + grass) gave the best results in the second maize crop. It was concluded that combining grass and legumes would have all the advantages of yield and quality with low inputs and reduced bloat risk during the pasture phase, in addition to a more prolonged effect on succeeding crops.

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