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The effect of grazing intensity and fertiliser application during winter on herbage regrowth and quality of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 20:27 authored by Lee, JM, Donaghy, DJ, Roche, JR
The objective of the current study was to quantify the effects of greater herbage residuals in winter on leaf appearance rate, herbage accumulation and quality, and plant energy reserves, as well as quantifying the effects nitrogen (N), or phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) fertilisers had on the above measures. Ten pasture areas were grazed to different residual masses (1260 ± 101 and 1868 ± 139 kg DM/ha, Severe and Lax, respectively) over five consecutive days by dry dairy cows. Two randomly located subplots within each grazing area were fertilised with either 50 kg N/ha (N treatment) or 50 kg N/ha, 31 kg S/ha plus 26 kg P/ha (N + S + P treatment) on the day immediately following defoliation (day 1), and were compared with a control subplot. Neither growth rate (15.1 ± 8.1 kg DM/, nor leaf appearance rate (15.1 ± 0.3 days per new leaf) differed between treatments. As a result, herbage accumulated over the 49 days of regrowth was similar across grazing treatments and averaged 726 kg DM/ha. Application of N + S + P tended to increase total herbage accumulated during regrowth compared with either the control or N treatment subplots (860 v. 675 and 643 kg DM/ha, respectively), likely a result of increased tiller density. Swards defoliated more severely had lower initial water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations compared with swards laxly defoliated, but this difference had disappeared before appearance of the third new leaf. Herbage quality improved in the Severe treatment subplots after emergence of the third new leaf, with higher digestibility, greater WSC and metabolisable energy, and lower fibre content than in laxly grazed subplots. © CSIRO 2007.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


C S I R O Publishing

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Sown pastures (excl. lucerne)

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