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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Botanical Composition of Subclover-Grass Pastures as Affected by Single and Dual Grazing by Cattle and Sheep1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 3, p. 502-504
    Received: Nov 1, 1971

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  1. T. E. Bedell2



Since cattle and sheep tend to prefer different forage species and since little information has been available upon which to design successful grazing programs for western Oregon dryland improved pastures, a grazing experiment was conducted to determine the effects of several combinations of cattle and sheep use on forage species composition and livestock performance. Improved pasture mixtures of ‘Nangeela’ subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) with ‘Oregon’ perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and with ‘Alta’ tall rescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) were grazed by cattle and sheep alone and in several combinations during the spring-summer seasons of 1967, 1968, and 1969. Seasonal botanical composition of both forage mixtures was influenced markedly by the kind of grazing treatment. The subclover component, necessary in order to sustain high forage production, declined both within and progressively among seasons in the sheep-alone and low cattle:high sheep, dual use treatments. Grazing cattle selected grasses whereas sheep selected subclover as long as forage of the preferred species was abundant. Grazing cattle alone, or a relatively high proportiton of cattle:sheep, tended to hold grasses in check allowing more subclover to prevail longer into the grazing season. This contributed to higher per acre animal performance and to a higher proportion of subclover in the succeeding year.

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