Track 1-07

Description

Herbage production is the most important measure of performance of grassland systems. Understanding how herbage production responds to various managements is crucial to the success of grassland systems, whether or not maximization of production is pursued. Most of the records of grassland production in the literature are taken as acceptable approximations of net herbage production. Analysis of these production records and accompanying quality data can generalize the response of grassland productivity and quality to individual managements, and can characterize the managements in terms of their efficiency and potential in increasing productivity and quality. Overall, maximum production response is ranked irrigation (11.2 t DM/ha) > nitrogen (N) fertilizer (9.8 t DM/ha) > legume mixture (5.2 t DM/ha) > phosphorus fertilizer (3.4 t DM/ha) > cutting frequency (2.5 t DM/ha) ≈ potassium fertilizer (2.4 t DM/ha) > cutting intensity (1.9 t DM/ha). Maximum response of herbage N concentration is greatest for N fertilizer (16 g/kg DM, for grasses) followed by legume mixture (14 g/kg DM), cutting frequency (8 g/kg DM) and cutting intensity (2 g/kg DM). Management of grassland systems for achieving a specified production and/or quality goal needs to consider different patterns of production and quality response to individual management inputs as well as other conditions (e.g. plant species, site conditions) involved in the systems.

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Management Options that Increase Herbage Production in Grassland-Based Livestock Production Systems

Herbage production is the most important measure of performance of grassland systems. Understanding how herbage production responds to various managements is crucial to the success of grassland systems, whether or not maximization of production is pursued. Most of the records of grassland production in the literature are taken as acceptable approximations of net herbage production. Analysis of these production records and accompanying quality data can generalize the response of grassland productivity and quality to individual managements, and can characterize the managements in terms of their efficiency and potential in increasing productivity and quality. Overall, maximum production response is ranked irrigation (11.2 t DM/ha) > nitrogen (N) fertilizer (9.8 t DM/ha) > legume mixture (5.2 t DM/ha) > phosphorus fertilizer (3.4 t DM/ha) > cutting frequency (2.5 t DM/ha) ≈ potassium fertilizer (2.4 t DM/ha) > cutting intensity (1.9 t DM/ha). Maximum response of herbage N concentration is greatest for N fertilizer (16 g/kg DM, for grasses) followed by legume mixture (14 g/kg DM), cutting frequency (8 g/kg DM) and cutting intensity (2 g/kg DM). Management of grassland systems for achieving a specified production and/or quality goal needs to consider different patterns of production and quality response to individual management inputs as well as other conditions (e.g. plant species, site conditions) involved in the systems.