Annual dry matter, metabolisable energy and nitrogen yields of six dryland pastures six and seven years after establishment


  • A. Mills
  • D.J. Moot



Dry matter (DM) yields, botanical composition, liveweight production and pasture quality of six grazed dryland pastures established in 2002 at Lincoln University, Canterbury, are reported for Years 6 (2007/08) and 7 (2008/09). Lucerne (Medicago sativa) yielded 14.0 t DM/ha/yr and sheep liveweight (LW) production totalled 903 (2007/08) and 1 141 kg/ha/yr (2008/09). Metabolisable energy (ME) on offer (~134 GJ/ha/yr) and N yield (>500 kg/ha/yr) from the lucerne exceeded those of grass-based pastures. Yields (9.8- 11.2 t DM/ha/yr) and liveweight production (814-912 kg/ha/yr) from cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) pastures established with subterranean (Trifolium subterraneum) clover were greater than all other grass-based pastures. Annual ME was 79-96 GJ/ha and N yield was 269- 316 kg/ha from the cocksfoot, subterranean clover and volunteer white clover (T. repens) components. For Year 7, the contribution of unsown weeds and grasses in cocksfoot-based pastures was ~28% of total annual yield compared with 55% in ryegrass (Lolium perenne)/ white clover pastures. Consequently, the ME and N yields from sown pasture components in ryegrass/white clover pastures were lower than those from cocksfootbased pastures. These results indicate dryland farms with lucerne and/or cocksfoot/sub clover pastures can produce higher DM yields from more persistent pasture species. Persistence led to more ME and N on offer to grazing livestock, which resulted in higher liveweight production than from the ryegrass pastures. Keywords: balansa clover, Caucasian clover, growth rates, pasture quality, T. ambiguum, T. michelianum







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