THE EFFECT OF ROTATIONAL GRAZING ON FLORISTIC COMPOSITION AND YIELD OF Ranunculo repentis – Alopecuretum pratensis HILLY GRASSLAND

2003, 4 (4)   p. 297-306

A GSELMAN, B KRAMBERGER, A LEŠNIK

Abstract

In the years 2001 and 2002 the effect of the introduction of the whole year rotational grazing with different post-grazing target sward heights (4 cm in the treatment 1, and 7 cm in the treatment 2) on the yield and changes in floristic composition of the Ranunculo repentis – Alopecuretum pratensis hilly grassland was studied. A meadow (0.53 ha) was divided into six paddocks (randomised block design - two treatments, three replications). Eight Simmental cows started grazing in paddocks at 15 cm sward height. After one or two days of grazing the target height of sward was achieved. During the two-year experiment, the whole year rotational grazing to various post-grazing target sward heights did not have a significantly different effect on the total dry matter (DM) yield. The number of different plant species in the sward, however, fell from the initial 57 to under 40 by the spring 2002, but by the spring 2003 the number rose again to 44 in the treatment 1, and to 45 in the treatment 2. Due to change in the utilisation, the Shannon diversity index (H) fell from the initial 3.16 to 2.69 in the second year (treatment 1) and to 2.72 (treatment 2). Next year it increased again to 2.87 (treatment 1) and to 2.91 (treatment 2).

Keywords

rotational grazing, dry matter yield, plant biodiversity, grassland

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