Effects of binary seed mixtures of ryegrass, cocksfoot and tall fescue on pasture production


  • D.R. Stevens
  • M.J. Hickey




This study measured total dry matter production and botanical composition of binary mixtures of cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata), ryegrass (Lolium perenne) or tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), as a replacement series in proportions of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100 from June 1987 until May 1993. The binary mixtures were sown in March 1986 with white clover, on an occasionally drought affected Kaweku silt loam, with an average annual rainfall of 750 mm near Riversdale, in Southland. Mixtures with ryegrass were allowed a 6-month establishment period before ryegrass was overdrilled in early October 1986. Total yields of ryegrass/cocksfoot mixtures increased as ryegrass seeding rate increased. Clover yields were generally unaffected. Mixtures of cocksfoot/tall fescue produced more sown grass than either species sown alone. This lowered clover and other grass yields, resulting in no total dry matter yield improvement in mixtures compared to pure sowings. Tall fescue/ ryegrass mixtures were competitive in winter and spring with lower total yields than either species sown alone. This competition also lowered other grass yields. During summer and autumn the total production increased as the amount of ryegrass increased. Seed mixtures with two perennial temperate pasture grasses did not provide any extra pasture production in a cool temperate environment under infrequent hard grazing management. The best choice for the region would be the grass that provided the greatest dry matter yield. Other components such as clover may be reduced when mixing grasses. Keywords: cocksfoot, competition, Dactylis glomerata, Festuca arundinacea, Lolium perenne, mixtures, pasture yield, replacement series, ryegrass, tall fescue, white clover







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