A comparison of multi-species pasture with ryegrass-white clover pasture under dryland conditions


  • M.J. Daly
  • R.M. Hunter
  • G.N. Green
  • L. Hunt




The performance of three different multi-species pastures (MSP), or mixed herb leys as they are also known, was compared with that of a standard ryegrass-white clover pasture (cvs Grasslands Super Nui-Grasslands Huia), over a 3-year period at two dryland sites. The MSP treatments had grass and legume species selected for compatibility and growth and aimed to provide a contrast in quality and production. The herb species, common to each of the MSP treatments, were chicory, plantain, sheep's burnet and yarrow. The dry matter production of the MSP treatments was significantly higher than that of the ryegrass-white clover pasture (P<0.05) in all three years at one site and in one year only at the other site. Seasonal growth comparisons showed higher summer growth (P<0.05) for MSP treatments compared with ryegrass-white clover and similar autumn growth. Contribution to production of herbage components demonstrated less grass (P<0.05) and more legume and herbs in the MSP treatments. A lucerne-based MSP gave the best overall performance. Keywords: herbs, legumes, Medicago sativa, feed quality, Trifolium pratense







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