Wang, Z., Schellenberg, M. P., Biligetu, B., Zhao, M. L. and Han, G. D. 2012. Short Communication: Forage mixture responses to water stress in semi-arid prairie grassland: a pot experiment. Can. J. Plant Sci. 92: 1259-1261. As a negative result of changing climate, drought has become a worldwide concern, particularly in arid and semiarid regions. Under drier conditions, seeding multiple forage species may produce higher biomass than single species. A randomized complete block design experiment was carried out in a growth chamber over a 4-mo period to examine the effect of watering regimes (100, 85 and 70% of field capacity of semiarid grassland) on above- and below-ground biomass of various combinations of five forage species. Alfalfa monoculture and mixtures containing alfalfa produced significantly higher above- and below-ground biomass (P<0.05) than the other species or species combinations when grown at field capacity. They were also among the highest biomass producers under restricted water supply, although differences were not always statistically different. Winterfat showed a good tolerance to water deficit and its below-ground biomass production was not significantly affected by water restriction. The findings suggest that a mixture of native plant species with alfalfa would be important for forage seedling production in the semi-arid prairie grassland under water-limiting conditions.
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