Persistence of perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and cocksfoot following sequential annual sowings: pasture yield, composition and density in three establishment years under cattle grazing in Waikato
Persistence is an important component of perennial pasture-grass productivity. Defining the traits that affect persistence is essential for improving pasture longevity through plant breeding and for identifying criteria that should be included in cultivar ranking indices. Compared with a conventional longitudinal study (a single study monitored over time), repeated annual sowings allow the effects on persistence of sowing year and the ensuing interactions between environment and age of pasture to be identified. An experiment commenced in 2016 in Waikato, in which eight cultivars of perennial ryegrass representing different ploidy, flowering date, and cultivar age, and one each of tall fescue and cocksfoot were sown each autumn in a randomised complete block design with four replicates in autumn 2016, spring 2017 and autumn 2018. This paper reports interim data on pasture yield, composition and density in the autumn following each sowing, and for the 2018 sowing only, in the 6 months after sowing. For the three successive autumn measurements there were significant effects due to cultivar, year of sowing and their interactions for all pasture variables. These differences in establishment may have consequences for the future resilience of these pastures under natural biotic and abiotic stressors.
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