Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Plant Science


This study was conducted to test the feasibility of establishing alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the semi-arid grasslands of north central and north western South Dakota, as a means of pasture renovation. The north central and northwestern South Dakota regions are, for the most part, native grasslands. The yield potential of these resources is primarily limited by lack of adequate precipitation. Not much research has been done in these regions to establish the magnitude of severity of factors such as nitrogen limitation and pasture and range diseases, which may, separately or in combination with soil moisture, be limiting yield potentials of these grasslands. A compatible management practice to reduce the severity of any of the limitations can make a significant economic contribution. Even a small increase in forage production multiplied by the existing area represents a vast potential in increased yield. Interseeding (synonymous with sod-seeding) is described as a partial grassland renovation whereby forage species superior in productivity and quality is/are introduced into the existing deteriorating pastures or ranges with only minimum disturbance of the existing sod. Mechanical renovation in South Dakota is probably a more common practice in contrast to chemical renovation entailing the use of herbicides and fertilizer to control and/or enhance growth and development of young seedlings. Whereas several alternatives are available in eastern South Dakota, conditions in western South Dakota do not lend themselves to many alternatives. These areas may be hilly, stony or highly erodible, and often are quite dry so that establishment and sustained maintenance of a desirable forage species is difficult. In such areas, interseeding can be quite important if alfalfa stands can be established. Past South Dakota studies using alfalfa in sod seeding trials was met with some success but such studies were mainly in regions east of the Missouri River. The present study, therefore, was to study stand establishment in the regions immediately east and west of the Missouri River.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa--South Dakota--Field experiments
Pastures--South Dakota--Fertilizers
Rangelands--South Dakota--Revegetation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University