Herbage productivity of a range of grass species in association with white clover


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Red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) cvs Reptans, Dawson and Ruby, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cvs Perma and Sprinter, crested dogstail (Cynosurus cristatus L.) cv. Southlands, smooth meadow‐grass (Poa pratensis L.) cvs Parade and Arena, Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus L.) commercial types I and II, creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera L.) cv. Penncross and rough meadow‐grass (Poa trivialis L.) cvs Omega Øtofte, Dasas and Sabre were each sown with white clover (Trifolium repens L.) cv. Donna and the productivity of the fourteen mixtures assessed under simulated grazing (six harvests per year) for 3 years. A single fertilizer‐N rate (50 kg ha−1) in early spring was applied to all treatments each year. Over the 3 years, mean annual dry matter (DM) production of the swards ranged from 5·25 t ha−1 (creeping bent) to 8·71 t ha−1 (red fescue cv. Reptans), with the species ranking order of: red fescue > perennial ryegrass > crested dogstail > smooth meadow‐grass > Yorkshire fog > creeping bent. Rough meadow‐grass only persisted over the first harvest year. Mean annual organic matter digestibility (OMD) values of the swards ranged from 0·712 (creeping bent) to 0·782 (ryegrass cv. Sprinter). Mixtures with the lowest proportion of grass (crested dogstail and smooth meadow‐grass) generally gave the highest proportions of white clover. The creeping bent mixture had exceptionally low production of both components. Red fescue, crested dogstail and smooth meadow‐grass showed compatibility with clover and, therefore, have potential for use in grass/clover swards. Yorkshire fog had lower compatability with clover. Some breeding effort to improve selected characteristics of promising species, e.g. improvement of low OMD in red fescue, seems warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - Mar 1990


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