Litter can enhance pasture establishment on non-cultivable hill country


  • K.N. Tozer
  • R.A. Moss
  • C.A. Cameron
  • G.M. Rennie
  • G.B. Douglas


The effect of litter (dead vegetation) on establishment of an autumn-sown grass-legume-herb mix was investigated in non-cultivable hill country in Waikato (2013) and in Canterbury (2013, 2014, 2015). In Waikato, increasing litter height increased establishment of sown species by over 3-fold when comparing establishment from herbicide-treated swards with 7 cm or 0 cm (bare ground) of litter (660 versus 190 seedlings/m2). Only perennial ryegrass and white clover established of the seven oversown species in Waikato and none established in Canterbury. In Canterbury, soil surface temperatures were reduced and soil moisture was greater under 7 cm than 0 cm of litter, resulting in a 20% and 50% increase in average soil moisture content on the north and south aspects, respectively. It was concluded that litter enhanced establishment of perennial ryegrass and white clover in Waikato but the ameliorating effect of litter on the soil micro-climate was insufficient to enhance establishment in Canterbury. Keywords: oversowing, pasture establishment, pasture species






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