Frequent grazing by sheep reduced caucasian clover cover and rhizome mass in ryegrass pasture
The responses of hexaploid caucasian clover (Trifolium ambiguum) to four contrasting grazing regimes were compared with those of white clover (T. repens) in an endophytic (Neotyphodium lolii) hybrid ryegrass pasture on a fertile lowland site. After 2 years, frequent grazing (set stocking) by sheep reduced caucasian clover cover to 10% compared with 25.5% in infrequent grazing (rotational grazing) treatments (mean spelling time 25 days). Similarly, frequent grazing reduced caucasian clover rhizome plus root dry weight (780 kg DM/ha when sampled to 100 mm depth in frequently grazed plots, compared with 3220 kg DM/ha for infrequent). Under frequent grazing treatments, mean white clover cover was 21%, under infrequent hard grazing it was 26% and under lax infrequent grazing it was 14%. The reduction in ryegrass tiller population from 5720/m² in the infrequently and laxly grazed treatments to 4150/ m² in the frequently hard grazed pastures indicated the severity of that hard grazed treatment. These results show that in lowland ryegrass pastures on high fertility sites, the stoloniferous growth form of white clover may be superior to the rhizomatous strategy of caucasian clover when grazing by sheep is frequent throughout spring, summer and autumn.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsCaucasian clover; clover; Trifolium repens; white clover; grazing frequency; grazing intensity; kura clover; rhizomes; ryegrass; Trifolium ambiguum
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
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