Predicting response of perennial ryegrass/white clover swards to strategic spring application of nitrogenous fertilizer

Laidlaw, A.S.; Frame, J.

Sustainable grassland productivity Proceedings of the 21st General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation, Badajoz, Spain, 3-6 April 2006: 119-121


Accession: 004523079

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This study was carried out to validate a grass growth model modified to take account of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) and to test its ability to predict the response of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)/white clover swards to nitrogenous fertilizer applied in spring under western European conditions. The model, which is briefly described, requires daily meteorological data (air temperatures, rainfall and radiation), an estimate of initial clover stolon growing point density and an approximate profile of soil mineral N during the growing season (to estimate grass growth in the mixture). When validated against data sets of grass and clover yields from cut plot experiments managed under simulated grazing and with no fertilizer N application, the model predicts clover yield and content reasonably well but is less successful in predicting the impact of N fertilizer on annual production of grass and clover. Improvements to the model and implications of the requirements of the model for development of a decision support system for grass/clover swards are discussed.