The Journal of Agricultural Science

Research Article

Some consequences of imposing different continuousgrazing pressures in the spring on tiller demography and leaf growth

J. R. B. Tallowina1, J. H. H. Williamsa1 p1 and F. W. Kirkhama1

a1 AFRC Institute for Grassland and Animal Production, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB


The effects of different severities of continuous grazing imposed during the spring, followed by a uniform continuous grazing management from mid-summer onwards, were examined in relation to changes in tiller demography and leaf growth of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Two grazing severities were imposed, based upon maintaining a constant sward height of either 35 mm (severe) or 75 mm (lenient). From 1 June onwards, a uniform grazing pressure with a sward height of 60 mm was imposed.

Differences in the age class structure of the tiller populations developed during the spring between the two grazing treatments, principally through the suppression of daughter tiller development under the more lenient grazing. The demographic differences between the treatments were further increased during the remainder of the grazing season, under the common grazing management, largely because of the greater production of secondary daughter tillers in the sward which had been leniently grazed. The demographic differences between the swards had little effect on net pasture production during the treatment season, with lamina growth rates being virtually unaffected across a wide range of steadystate, continuous-grazing pressures. However, longer-term effects on pasture development, due to the demographic differences between the swards, did appear in the following season; the more severe grazing pressure treatment resulted in earlier inflorescence development in the subsequent season.

(Revised August 18 1988)

(Received August 18 1988)


p1 Present address: School of Plant Biology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW.

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