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Influence of sward condition on leaf tissue turnover in tall fescue and tall wheatgrass swards under continuous grazing

Influence of sward condition on leaf tissue turnover in tall fescue and tall wheatgrass swards under continuous grazing

Grass and forage science 62(1): 55-65

Two experiments were carried out on a tall fescue sward in two periods of spring 1994 and on a tall wheatgrass sward in autumn 2001 and spring 2003 to analyse the effect of sward surface height on herbage mass, leaf area index and leaf tissue flows under continuous grazing. The experiment on tall fescue was conducted without the application of fertilizer and the experiment with tall wheatgrass received 20 kg P ha superscript -1(B and a total of 100 kg N ha superscript -1(B in two equal dressings applied in March (autumn) and end of July (mid-winter). Growth and senescence rates per unit area increased with increasing sward surface height of swards of both species. Maximum estimated lamina growth rates were 28 and 23 kg DM ha superscript -1(B d superscript -1(B for the tall fescue in early and late spring, respectively, and 25 and 36 kg DM ha superscript -1(B d superscript -1(B for tall wheatgrass in autumn and spring respectively. In the tall fescue sward, predicted average proportions of the current growth that were lost to senescence in early and late spring were around 0.40 for the sward surface heights of 30-80 mm, and increased to around 0.60 for sward surface heights over 130 mm. In the tall wheatgrass sward the corresponding values during spring increased from around 0.40 to 0.70 for sward surface heights between 80 and 130 mm. During autumn, senescence losses exceeded growth at sward surface heights above 90 mm. These results show the low efficiency of extensively managed grazing systems when compared with the high-input systems based on perennial ryegrass.

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Accession: 012918657

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2494.2007.00561.x

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