Track 1-07

Description

Combinations of various plant species or functional groups can enhance sward structure, the function and stability of an ecosystem, supplement forage production and mitigate negative environmental impacts. Climatic variation, rising temperatures, changing precipitation and other extreme climatic events may lead to changes in plant diversity (Soussana and Lüscher 2007). At the same time it is very important to optimise functional diversity by combining species with different properties that are well adapted to the local environments (Huyghe et al. 2012). Successful selection and management of legumes influences the herbage production, nutritional quality and sustainability of grazing systems. Therefore, their role is very important in ecosystem and livestock production systems. A grass-legume system confers benefits to the grass, especially in the early life of sown mixtures (Rochon et al. 2004; Nyfeler et al. 2009), and it is very important to identify the contribution of each species to performance in the mixtures (Parsons et al. 2011).

The objectives of this study were to assess the ability of legume-based swards to produce more stable herbage yields over several years under grazing without nitrogen fertilization and to estimate the persistence of swards.

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The Functionality of Legume-Grass Swards in a Long-Term Pasture: Productivity and Stability

Combinations of various plant species or functional groups can enhance sward structure, the function and stability of an ecosystem, supplement forage production and mitigate negative environmental impacts. Climatic variation, rising temperatures, changing precipitation and other extreme climatic events may lead to changes in plant diversity (Soussana and Lüscher 2007). At the same time it is very important to optimise functional diversity by combining species with different properties that are well adapted to the local environments (Huyghe et al. 2012). Successful selection and management of legumes influences the herbage production, nutritional quality and sustainability of grazing systems. Therefore, their role is very important in ecosystem and livestock production systems. A grass-legume system confers benefits to the grass, especially in the early life of sown mixtures (Rochon et al. 2004; Nyfeler et al. 2009), and it is very important to identify the contribution of each species to performance in the mixtures (Parsons et al. 2011).

The objectives of this study were to assess the ability of legume-based swards to produce more stable herbage yields over several years under grazing without nitrogen fertilization and to estimate the persistence of swards.