Herbage production from five grazable forages


  • E.M.K. Minneé
  • C.E.F. Clark
  • D.A. Clark




Maintaining an adequate feed supply throughout the year is an important consideration in dairy systems. Systems based on perennial ryegrass pastures are often limited by poor growth and feed quality when soil moisture is low and temperatures are high. Alternative forage species better adapted to these conditions may provide options for maintaining feed supply. Annual and seasonal dry matter (DM) production, and nutritive value of five grazable forages with and without irrigation were compared under cutting in the Waikato over two successive years. Perennial ryegrass produced the greatest annual DM yield in both years under both irrigation regimes, largely through superior cool season production and mild temperatures with above average rainfall during the experiment. Plantain tended to provide more DM than perennial ryegrass under irrigation in summer and autumn, a time when additional DM is important for maintaining milk production. With the exception of sudan grass, nutritive value of all forages exceeded values expected to limit milk production. Keywords: dry matter yield, nutritive value, chicory, plantain, perennial ryegrass, sudan grass, sulla







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