Prairie Mixture Establishment
n the fall of 2004, two diverse species prairie mixtures, composed of 9-prairie species and 20-species, were broadcast on a recently harvested soybean field. The soil was mostly bare, with minimal crop residue or weeds. The site was mowed several times during the summer of 2005 for weed management. There was some broadleaf and grass weed competition during the 2005 growing season, but some prairie grass and legume seedlings were seen. No systematic stand evaluations were conducted in 2005. In mid-May of 2006 there was such a uniform and significant growth of the native grasses Canada and Virginia wildrye, that the co-PIs decided to revise the management plans for the Lewis site. The overall intent was to establish a coolseason/warm-season dual forage system, using alfalfa and red clover as the ‘cool-season’ component. With the presence of the native, cool-season wildrye component, it was decided to use an all ‘native species’ system at the Armstrong Farm, to contrast with the alfalfa/warm-season prairie mixtures study being managed at a site near Ames, IA.