Login | Request Account (DAF staff only)

The effect of defoliation practice in Western Australia on tiller development of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and its association with forage quality

Share this record

Add to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to XAdd to WechatAdd to Microsoft_teamsAdd to WhatsappAdd to Any

Export this record

View Altmetrics

Callow, M.N., Michell, P., Baker, J.E. and Hough, G.M. (2000) The effect of defoliation practice in Western Australia on tiller development of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) and Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and its association with forage quality. Grass and Forage Science, 55 (3). pp. 232-241. ISSN 0142-5242

Full text not currently attached. Access may be available via the Publisher's website or OpenAccess link.

Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2494.2000.00220.x


The effect of defoliation on the vegetative, early reproductive and inflorescence stages of tiller development, changes in the dry-matter yield of leaf, stem and inflorescence and the associated changes in forage quality was determined on plants of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaud.) and Italian ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.). The field study comprised seventy-two plots of 1 m × 2 m, sown with one annual ryegrass and seven Italian ryegrass cultivars with a range of heading dates from early to late; defoliation commenced 6 weeks after germination. During the vegetative stage of growth, plots were defoliated when the tillers had three fully expanded leaves (three-leaf stage). During the early reproductive stage of growth, to simulate a cut for silage, plots were defoliated 6–7 weeks after 0·10 of the tillers displayed nodal development. The subsequent regrowth was defoliated every 3 weeks.

Assessments of changes in tiller density, yield and quality were made in the growth cycle that followed three contrasting cutting treatments during the winter–spring period (from 10 July). In treatment 1, this growth cycle (following closing-up before a subsequent conservation cut) commenced on 7 August following two defoliations each taken when the tillers were at the three-leaf stage. In treatment 2, the growth cycle commenced on 16 October following: for early-maturing cultivars, two cuts at the three-leaf stage, a cut for silage and an additional regrowth cut; for medium-maturing cultivars three cuts at the three-leaf stage and a cut for silage; and late-maturing cultivars, five cuts at the three-leaf stage. In treatment 3, defoliation up to 16 October was as for treatment 2, but the growth cycle studied started on 27 November following two additional regrowth cuts for early- and medium-maturing cultivars and cut for silage for the late-maturing cultivars.

Tiller development for all cultivars was classified into three stages; vegetative, early reproductive and inflorescence. In treatment 1, in vitro dry-matter digestibility (IVDMD) and crude protein (CP) content were negatively associated with maturation of tillers. IVDMD ranged from 0·85 to 0·60 and CP ranged from 200 to less than 100 g kg–1 dry matter (DM) during the vegetative and inflorescence stages respectively. This large reduction in forage quality was due to an increase in the proportion of stem, inflorescence and dead material, combined with a reduction in the IVDMD and CP content of the stem. A high level of forage quality was retained for longer with later-maturing cultivars, and/or when vegetative tillers were initiated from the defoliation of early reproductive tillers (treatments 2 and 3). However, 15 weeks after the closing-up date in treatment 1, defoliation significantly reduced the density of inflorescences with means (±pooled s.e_m.) of 1560, 1178 and 299 ± 108 tillers m–2, and DM yield of inflorescence with means of 3·0, 0·6 and 0·1 ± 0·15 t ha–1 for treatments 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

This study supports the recommendation that annual and Italian ryegrass cultivars should be classified according to maturity date based on the onset of inflorescence emergence, and that the judicious defoliation of early reproductive tillers can be used to promote the initiation of new vegetative tillers which in turn will retain forage quality for longer.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Field crops > Forage crops. Feed crops
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia
Live Archive:03 Jan 2024 23:06
Last Modified:03 Jan 2024 23:06

Repository Staff Only: item control page