Track 1-07

Description

All-year grazing of livestock on steep, non-arable hill country (> 20o slope angle, < 1,000 m elevation) is a significant feature of New Zealand agriculture. Hill country pastures are in various states of improvement depending on factors such as extent of subdivision, fertiliser inputs, plant species introduction, and grazing management. Numerous introduced grass, legume and herb species are available to match the many micro-sites in steep hill country (Kemp et al. 1999).

There has been increasing use of the perennial herbs chicory (Chicorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) in seed mixtures used on a range of topographies, mostly flat to undulating terrain. Advantages of these species include tolerance of drought and high summer temperatures, highly palatable foliage, enhanced mineral content, and high animal growth rates (Stewart 1996; Li and Kemp 2005). Farmers have sown these species on hill country but there is negligible information on their establishment in such landscapes. As part of a large, New Zealand-wide programme to increase pasture productivity on non-arable hill country through new germplasm introduction, chicory and plantain were included in a seed mixture broadcast-sown at a range of sites. This paper reports on the seedling establishment of these two species.

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Successful Establishment of Oversown Chicory and Plantain on Uncultivatable Hill Country

All-year grazing of livestock on steep, non-arable hill country (> 20o slope angle, < 1,000 m elevation) is a significant feature of New Zealand agriculture. Hill country pastures are in various states of improvement depending on factors such as extent of subdivision, fertiliser inputs, plant species introduction, and grazing management. Numerous introduced grass, legume and herb species are available to match the many micro-sites in steep hill country (Kemp et al. 1999).

There has been increasing use of the perennial herbs chicory (Chicorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) in seed mixtures used on a range of topographies, mostly flat to undulating terrain. Advantages of these species include tolerance of drought and high summer temperatures, highly palatable foliage, enhanced mineral content, and high animal growth rates (Stewart 1996; Li and Kemp 2005). Farmers have sown these species on hill country but there is negligible information on their establishment in such landscapes. As part of a large, New Zealand-wide programme to increase pasture productivity on non-arable hill country through new germplasm introduction, chicory and plantain were included in a seed mixture broadcast-sown at a range of sites. This paper reports on the seedling establishment of these two species.