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The performance of irrigated mixtures of tall fescue, ryegrass and white clover in subtropical Australia. 2. The effects on yield and botanical composition of managing for quality.

Lowe, K.F. and Bowdler, T.M. and White, J.A. and Lowe, S.A. and Callow, M.N (2009) The performance of irrigated mixtures of tall fescue, ryegrass and white clover in subtropical Australia. 2. The effects on yield and botanical composition of managing for quality. Tropical Grasslands, 43 (1). pp. 24-36.

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Organisation URL: http://www.tropicalgrasslands.asn.au

Abstract

The effects on yield, botanical composition and persistence, of using a variable defoliation schedule as a means of optimising the quality of the tall fescue component of simple and complex temperate pasture mixtures in a subtropical environment was studied in a small plot cutting experiment at Gatton Research Station in south-east Queensland. A management schedule of 2-, 3- and 4-weekly defoliations in summer, autumn and spring and winter, respectively, was imposed on 5 temperate pasture mixtures: 2 simple mixtures including tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and white clover (Trifolium repens); 2 mixtures including perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), tall fescue and white clover; and a complex mixture, which included perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, white, red (T. pratense) and Persian (T. resupinatum) clovers and chicory (Cichorium intybus).

Yield from the variable cutting schedule was 9% less than with a standard 4-weekly defoliation. This loss resulted from reductions in both the clover component (13%) and cumulative grass yield (6%). There was no interaction between cutting schedule and sowing mixture, with simple and complex sowing mixtures reacting in a similar manner to both cutting schedules. The experiment also demonstrated that, in complex mixtures, the cutting schedules used failed to give balanced production from all sown components. This was especially true of the grass and white clover components of the complex mixture, as chicory and Persian clover components dominated the mixtures, particularly in the first year.

Quality measurements (made only in the final summer) suggested that variable management had achieved a quality improvement with increases in yields of digestible crude protein (19%) and digestible dry matter (9%) of the total forage produced in early summer. The improvements in the yields of digestible crude protein and digestible dry matter of the tall fescue component in late summer were even greater (28 and 19%, respectively). While advantages at other times of the year were expected to be smaller, the data suggested that the small loss in total yield was likely to be offset by increases in digestibility of available forage for grazing stock, especially in the critical summer period.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc.
Keywords:Botanical composition; chicory; crop quality; crop yield; crude protein; cutting date; defoliation; digestible energy; dry matter accumulation; grasslands; irrigated conditions; sowing rates; temperate grasslands.
Subjects:Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Deposited On:28 Jun 2010 02:23
Last Modified:18 Nov 2010 23:47

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