Track 1-03: Development and Impact of Sown Temperate Species

Description

Poor persistence of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is a major dairy industry issue in New Zealand and Australia. New ryegrass seed is often drilled at 18-30 kg/ha, although previous research indicated that pastures drilled at 10-12 kg/ha can be just as productive (Frame and Boyd 1986; Praat et al. 1996). High seeding rates increase competition between developing seedlings for light, water and nutrients, reduce plant size (Harris 1990) and potentially survival.

The experiment reported here investigated the effect of plant density (created by differences in seeding rate) on plant morphology and survival. The hypothesis was that plants established from high seeding rates will be smaller and, therefore, less likely to survive the first summer; a period of substantial environmental stress (e.g., high temperatures, low soil moisture, insect attack).

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Ryegrass Seeding Rate Alters Plant Morphology and Size–Possible Implications for Pasture Persistence

Poor persistence of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is a major dairy industry issue in New Zealand and Australia. New ryegrass seed is often drilled at 18-30 kg/ha, although previous research indicated that pastures drilled at 10-12 kg/ha can be just as productive (Frame and Boyd 1986; Praat et al. 1996). High seeding rates increase competition between developing seedlings for light, water and nutrients, reduce plant size (Harris 1990) and potentially survival.

The experiment reported here investigated the effect of plant density (created by differences in seeding rate) on plant morphology and survival. The hypothesis was that plants established from high seeding rates will be smaller and, therefore, less likely to survive the first summer; a period of substantial environmental stress (e.g., high temperatures, low soil moisture, insect attack).