The grazing animal and sward productivity

J. B.D. Herriott, D. A. Wells

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9 Citations (Scopus)


1. The results of a trial designed to investigate the effects of sheep excreta on sward growth and yield are described. 2. The quantities of plant nutrients excreted, and their distribution, by the grazing animal are discussed. An assessment is made of the value of excreta to pasture growth in the light of the results gained. 3. Under Boghall conditions, the return of excreta had little affect on sward output, the main effect was for the pasture to become progressively more grass dominant. In general, weather and soil nutrient limitation had a greater effect on nitrogen yields from the swards than did excreta. Recovery of excreta nitrogen would appear to be influenced by rainfall and the age of the sward. 4. On a soil inherently low in available potassium, it was found that this element and nitrogen both affected the pattern of herbage growth and composition when returned in excreta. Phosphorus return by the sheep was, however, of no observable value in either the levels of the element in the soil or in the herbage. It was found that rainfall and the botanical composition influenced the contents of mineral elements in the herbages. 5. Balance studies suggest that sheep grazed in small paddocks need adequate pre-conditioning before being moved into a trial. Only by this means can return of excreta reflect consumption of herbage. The limitations of small-scale animal grazing experiments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Agricultural Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 1963


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