Production interactions between combinations of 4 perennial legumes and 5 perennial grasses, grown under high input management with and without applications of nitrogen
Smith, R and Hall, E and Corkrey, R and Parsons, D and Pembleton, K and Rawnsley, R, Production interactions between combinations of 4 perennial legumes and 5 perennial grasses, grown under high input management with and without applications of nitrogen, Proceedings of the 17th Australian Society of Agronomy Conference, 20-24 September 2015, Hobart, Australia, pp. 1-4. (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]
The value of legumes in high input pastures has come into question in recent years. High sowing rates
of grasses (> 20 kg/ha) and the regular use of nitrogen fertilisers are contributing factors to the declining
composition of legumes in pastures. However, legumes can be an important component of a mixed pasture
sward, through their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and their high nutritive value. This study evaluated
the dry matter (DM) contribution of legumes to irrigated mixed swards receiving either a nil nitrogen or a
40kg N/ha nitrogen treatment following each defoliation event. The experiment was sown with 29 pasture
treatments consisting of mixed swards and monocultures of 5 grass species (perennial ryegrass cv. Base, tall
fescue Festuca arundinacea cv. Quantum II MaxP, coloured brome Bromus coloratus cv. Exceltas, cocksfoot
Dactylis glomerata cv. Megatas and phalaris Phalaris hybrid cv. Advanced AT) and 4 legume species (white
clover cv. Bounty, red clover Trifolium pratense cv. Rubitas, strawberry clover Trifolium fragiferum cv.
Palestine and Caucasian clover Trifolium ambiguum cv. Kuratas). The clover contribution (%) to production
increased significantly (P<0.05) in nil-nitrogen treatments compared with pasture mixes receiving nitrogen.
The application of high rates of N fertilisers can inhibit significant contributions of legumes to overall
production. White clover proved to be well adapted and the results of this study suggest it would difficult to
justify the sole use of any alternative species tested.
Refereed Conference Paper
alternative pasture species, DM yield, perennial legumes, pasture composition, clover