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Evaluating temperate species for the subtropics. 1. Annual ryegrasses

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Lowe, K.F., Bowdler, T.M., Casey, N.D., Lowe, S.A., White, J.A. and Pepper, P.M. (2007) Evaluating temperate species for the subtropics. 1. Annual ryegrasses. Tropical Grasslands, 41 (1). pp. 9-25.

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


In the subtropics of Australia, irrigated temperate species are the key to reliable cool season feed on dairy farms. Persistence of perennial species is a major limitation to achieving reliable production from irrigated areas and yearly sowings of annual ryegrasses have replaced them as the most productive cool season forage production system in the subtropics. This series of experiments evaluated the yield, and resistance to rust damage, of commercially available cultivars and breeders' lines of annually sown ryegrasses (Lolium multiflorum, L. rigidum, L. x boucheanum and L perenne) in pure, nitrogen-fertilised swards under irrigation in the subtropics over a 22-year period. Barberia and Aristocrat 2 were the most adapted cultivars for subtropical conditions, producing high yields (119 and 114% of mean yield, respectively) and demonstrating the least rust damage. Newer selections from New Zealand, South African, United States of America and European breeding programs are performing better under subtropical conditions than older cultivars, particularly if a component of the selection process has been conducted in that environment. Cultivars such as Passerei Plus, Crusader, Hulk, Status and Warrior are examples of this process, producing between 105 and 115% of mean yield. Yields of annual ryegrass cultivars, which have been available or still are available for sale in Australia, ranged from 14-30 t/ha DM, depending on cultivar, site and seasonal conditions. Yields were lower at the site, which had inferior soil structure and drainage. Up to 50% of yield was produced in the 3 winter months. There was a trend towards improved yields and better tolerance of crown rust from experimental lines in the subtropics, as breeders strive for wider adaptation. Around 70% of the variation in total yield of annual ryegrass and 50 and 60% of the variation in winter and spring yield, respectively, were significantly explained by cultivar, site and climatic variables in autumn, winter and spring. While level of rust damage had no effect on total or seasonal yields, it affected the amount of green leaf available in spring. Under subtropical conditions, winter, spring and overall (autumn to mid-summer) temperatures influenced the- development of rust, which along with cultivar, accounted for 46% of the variation in rust damage. Cultivars showed a range of adaptation, with some performing well only under adverse conditions, some being well adapted to all conditions and some which performed well only under favoured conditions. Cultivars with high winter yields were most suited to subtropical conditions and included Aristocrat 2 (now released as CM 108), Barberia, Warrior, Crusader, Status, Passerei Plus and Hulk. Short growing season types such as Winter Star and T Rex performed well in winter but achieved lower total production, and long season cultivars such as Flanker rarely achieved their potential because of unfavourable conditions in late summer.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Animal Science
Additional Information:© Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc.
Keywords:Annual ryegrasses; Australia; rust damage; subtropics; temperate species.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Live Archive:25 Feb 2009 03:55
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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