Total annual and seasonal DM production of improved and unimproved resident pastures at three farms in Canterbury
Yield differences between resident and improved pastures were quantified over a 3-4 yr period on three rainfed farms located in North Canterbury (Stockgrove, north of Amberley), Banks Peninsula (Willesden Farm) and the Mid-Canterbury foothills (Inverary Station). Improved pastures produced two- to three-times more feed annually than unimproved resident pastures at each property. At Stockgrove, improved chicory/white clover-based pastures produced 14.1±0.66 t DM/ha/yr compared with 4.36±0.41 t DM/ha/yr from unimproved pastures. Spring accounted for 85% (improved) and 72% (unimproved) of total annual DM production. At Willesden, lucerne monocultures produced 11.5±0.97
t DM/ha/yr, which was more than the 4.44±0.45 t DM/ha/yr produced from resident pastures. Improved pastures at Inverary yielded 7.31±0.59 t DM/ha in summer/autumn of 2018/19, which was more than double the 3.34±0.43 t DM/ha from unimproved pastures. In 2019/2020, improved pastures produced 11.7±1.45 t DM/ha compared with 4.45±0.73 t DM/ha. In the third growth season (2020/2021) improved pastures produced 14.1±1.76 t DM/ha compared with 6.67±1.38 t DM/ha from unimproved pastures. In Year 4 (2021/22) the 12.6±1.29 t DM/ha from improved pastures was 56% more than the 8.07±0.85 t DM/ha from the unimproved pastures. Substantial increases in annual and seasonal feed supply patterns can be achieved through hill country pasture improvement.
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