The Productivity and Quality of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Romanian Forest Steppe
Alternative use of alfalfa, for various purposes, including the production of biofuels or food supplement for human alimentation, is a study topic still in its early stages of research. Studying and understanding the biology of alfalfa and the factors with a major influence on it are very important activities. The productivity and quality of alfalfa are two indicators that help determine, in addition to economic value, the way in which alfalfa can be used. Evolution of alfalfa yield and quality depends on many factors, such as the growth stage of alfalfa plants at harvesting. It was observed over three years of vegetation the influence of alfalfa plant growth stage at harvest on plant height, leaves/stems ratio, production of leaves, stems and whole plant (DM - dry matter) per hectare and on quality indicators (CP - crude protein, NDF - neutral detergent fiber and ADF - acid detergent fiber). The results showed that, with the advancement of phenological phases, from early bud stage to complete flowering, the total biomass output raised from 2.79 MgÂ·ha-1 to 4.60 MgÂ·ha-1, the neutral detergent fiber raised from 48.4-50.6% to 62.0-67.7%, while crude protein content decreased from 21.2-24.0% to 13.3-16.5%. The parameter values were correlated with alfalfa growth stage during the harvesting (significant at the 0.05 and 0.01 probability levels).
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