Date of this Version
Journal Of Range Management 43(5), September 1990
A management strategy using short-duration grazing and fertilization was simulated in a study with individual 'Ermelo' weeping lovegrass [Eragrostis curvula (Shrad.)Nees] plants. Influence of 2 levels of clipping [unclipped during the growing season and clipped (C) to 10-cm stubble height each time regrowth reached 40 cm]; fertilizer [unfertilized and 70-34-44 kg N-P-K/ha (F)]; and watering frequency [irrigated to field capacity at 7- (WET) and 14- (DRY) day intervals] on cumulative herbage dry matter yield, crude protein yield, and water-use efficiency, and root mass of individual weeping lovegrass plants grown in soil contained in polyethylene tubes was determined. Clipping combined with fertilization improved herbage dry matter yield and water-use efficiency. Fertilized plants yielded at least 5.4 g crude protein/tube as compared to less than 2.0 g crude protein/tube produced by unfertilized plants. Between 1 June and 15 September 1983 WET-F-treated plants provided sufficient regrowth for 5 harvest events with an average of 24-day intervals between harvests. In contrast, regrowth of WET-, DRY-F, and DRY-treated plants was harvested 3 times with intervals between harvests averaging between 32 and 35 days. Clipping had no effect on root mass of WET-, DRYF-, and DRY-treated plants, but reduced root mass of WET-F-treated plants by 44%. Based on this simulation of a forage management strategy, periodic harvest of weeping lovegrass combined with fertilization improved herbage dry matter yield and water-use efficiency without adversely affecting root mass when interval between harvest events averaged 32 to 35 days.