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Effects of emergency haying on vegetative characteristics within selected Conservation Reserve Program fields in the Northern Great Plains

January 1, 2001

Successional changes in vegetation composition within seeded grasslands may effect attainment of long term conservaation objectives. Comparisons between vegetation composition within Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields planted to cool season, introduced grasses hayed for emergency we, and non hayed fields of the same age and species composition were completed to determine potential effects of periodic haying. Emergency haying had little long term effect on vegetation height/density, percent cover of live pass, or forb cover when compared to characteristics within non hayed fields?. The presence of legumes [primarily alfalfa (Medicago sativa L)] increased in response to haying, whereas, abundance of noxious weeds [chiefly Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense (L) Scop.)] diminished. Implications for long term management CRP grassland to achieve wildlife habitat objectives are discussed.