Persistence of dryland pasture species in mixed swards in Canterbury


  • T.J. Fraser



Changes in dryland pasture composition were monitored over 5 years in pastures that were managed under a normal sheep farm management system. Grass grub population built up with time and appeared to be the main reason for plant loss and the resultant changes in pasture composition. Grass grub densities in ryegrass mixtures increased to a high level (220/m* ) by year three, with subsequent ioss of ryegrass plants. Grub densities increased more slowly in cocksfoot-, tall fescueand phalaris-based pastures, with no apparent loss of plants. Cocksfoot dominated pasture composition by year three, even when sown at only 25% of total seed mix. Phalaris did not increase its contribution and at no stage made a significant contribution to production when sown in mixtures with other grasses. As grass grub numbers declined there appeared to be some regeneration of the ryegrass component. The more persistent cocksfoot and tall fescue pastures increased their herbage yield advantage over ryegrass pastures with time. Autumn animal performance was directly related to the amount of green herbage on offer. Keywords: Costelytra zealandica, Dactylis glomerata,dryland pastures, Festuca arundinacea, Lolium perenne, Phalaris aquatica, pasture composition







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