University Of Tasmania

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Effect of defoliation management, based on leaf stage, on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), prairie grass (Bromus willdenowii Kunth.) and cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) under dryland conditions: 1. Regrowth, tillering and water-soluble carbohydrate concentration

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 16:11 authored by Lydia TurnerLydia Turner, Donaghy, DJ, Peter LanePeter Lane, Richard RawnsleyRichard Rawnsley
A field study was undertaken between April 2003 and May 2004 in southern Tasmania, Australia to quantify and compare changes in herbage productivity and water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentration of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), prairie grass (Bromus willdenowii Kunth.) and cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) under a defoliation regime based on leaf regrowth stage. Defoliation interval was based on the time taken for two, three or four leaves per tiller to fully expand. Dry-matter (DM) production and botanical composition were measured at every defoliation event; plant density, DM production per tiller, tiller numbers per plant and WSC concentration were measured bimonthly; and tiller initiation and death rates were monitored every 3 weeks. Species and defoliation interval had a significant effect (P < 0.05) on seasonal DM production. Prairie grass produced significantly more (P < 0.001) DM than cocksfoot and ryegrass (5.7 vs. 4.1 and 4.3 t DM ha-1 respectively). Plants defoliated at the two-leaf stage of regrowth produced significantly less DM than plants defoliated at the three- and four-leaf stages, irrespective of species. Defoliation interval had no effect on plant persistence of any species during the first year of establishment, as measured by plant density and tiller number. However, more frequent defoliation was detrimental to the productivity of all species, most likely because of decreased WSC reserves. Results from this study confirmed that to maximize rates of regrowth, the recommended defoliation interval for prairie grass and cocksfoot is the four-leaf stage, and for perennial ryegrass between the two and three-leaf stages. © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Dairy Australia Limited


Publication title

Grass and Forage Science








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Blackwell Publishing

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Sown pastures (excl. lucerne)

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