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Effects of Drought Stress and Fertilizer Sources on Quality Characteristics of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)

Seed and Plant Improvement Research Department, West Azarbayjan Agricultural and Natural Sources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Urmia, Iran
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(Received : December 22, 2019; Accepted : February 18, 2020)


In order to evaluate effects of drought stress and different fertilizer sources on the quality characteristics of alfalfa, a factorial experiment was carried out based on a completely randomized design with three replications during two cropping seasons in Khoy Agricultural Research Station. The first factor, water stress, was considered at three levels [irrigation at field capacity (I1), irrigation at 80% field capacity (I2) and irrigation at 60% field capacity (I3)]. The second factor contained different fertilizer sources [(Mycorrhiza, nnitroxin, vermicomposting, chicken manure, chemical fertilizer and control (with no fertilizer)]. Results showed that applying of irrigation treatment had significant effects on all traits. The highest dry weight of forage was obtained in irrigated treatment in field capacity at the second year with the application of fertilizer (17020.3 kg/ha). Highest amount of soluble sugars (9.832%) and digestible dry matter (63.82%) was observed at irrigation level of 60% field capacity and the lowest in the irrigation treatment at field capacity. With increasing water deficit stress, crude protein, ADF, NDF, crude fiber and ash decreased. There was no significant difference between irrigation at 80% field capacity and irrigation at field capacity for NDF trait. The effect of fertilizer on the amount of digestible dry matter and ADF was significant, therefore, different fertilizer treatments increased the amount of digestible dry matter and decreased ADF. Increasing drought stress led to an enhanced quality of alfalfa.
Key words : Crude protein, fertilizer, low irrigation, quality