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Species Diversity Effects on Productivity, Persistence and Quality of Multispecies Swards in a Four-Year Experiment

Jing, J; Søegaard, K.; Cong, W-F and Eriksen, J. (2017) Species Diversity Effects on Productivity, Persistence and Quality of Multispecies Swards in a Four-Year Experiment. Grass and Forage Science, 12.

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[thumbnail of Jing et al. 2017 (1).pdf] PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28046004/


Plant species diversity may benefit natural grassland productivity, but its effect in managed grassland systems is not well understood. A four-year multispecies grassland experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of species diversity-legumes and non-leguminous forbs-on productivity, persistence and sward quality under cutting or grazing regimes and with or without slurry application. Three mixtures were established- 3-mix: grass, red and white clover, 10-mix: 3-mix plus birdsfoot trefoil and six non-leguminous forbs, and 12-mix: 10-mix plus lucerne and festulolium. Species diversity increased sward production and yield persistence under cutting regime. The 12-mix had the highest yield from the second year onwards and no statistically significant yield reduction over four years, while annual yields in the 3-mix and 10-mix decreased significantly with increasing grassland age. The higher yield in the 12-mix was mainly due to the inclusion of high-yielding lucerne. The 10-mix and 12-mix had lower proportions of unsown species than the 3-mix, the difference being dependent on grassland age. Generally, the 3-mix had higher concentrations of in-vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and crude protein (CP), and a lower concentration of ash than the 10-mix and 12-mix. Slurry application increased annual yield production by 10% and changed the botanical composition, increasing the proportion of grass and decreasing the proportion of legumes. Compared to cutting, grazing increased forage production by 9% per cut on average and lowered legume and forb proportions in the mixtures, but yields did not differ among the three mixtures. Overall, our results suggest that species diversity increases sward productivity and persistence only under an ungrazed cutting regime. We conclude that increasing species diversity by selecting appropriate species with compatible management is key to achieving both high yields and high persistence in managed grasslands.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
yield potential
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Pasture and forage crops
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > ORGGRASS - Grass-clover in organic dairy farming
Deposited By: Ursu, Ancuta
ID Code:43861
Deposited On:14 Mar 2022 13:03
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:03
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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