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Montana State University (MSU) 1985

The potential for dryland alfalfa on minesoils in southeastern Montana

Postle, Robert Cairns

Titre : The potential for dryland alfalfa on minesoils in southeastern Montana

Auteur : Postle, Robert Cairns

Université de soutenance : Montana State University (MSU)

Grade : Master of Science in Land Rehabilitation 1985

Résumé
Surface coal mining in southeastern Montana is disturbing areas of cropland, and in particular alfalfa fields, which are significant to local farm-ranch units. To date little research has been conducted on reestablishing alfalfa fields on minesoils. This study evaluated the potential for dryland alfalfa production on minesoils in Colstrip, Montana. Two fields, one on minesoils and one on undisturbed soils, were evaluated and compared. Alfalfa production and cover was measured at each field and alfalfa samples were analyzed for forage quality using NIR spectroscopy. Soils were characterized physically and chemically to help explain possible difference.Alfalfa cover on the undisturbed soil was greater than on the minesoil. Production from the two fields was equal. The forage quality of the alfalfa from both fields was well within the standard range of such values for this species. In general, the soils of the two fields were similar. Based on these results the potential for dryland alfalfa production on minesoil comparable to undisturbed sites in the same area does exist.

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