White Clover Response to Grazing Method
- G. E. Brink and
- G. A. Pederson
Grazing management is a major factor influencing white clover (Trifolium repens L.) growth. Our objective was to determine the response of white clover cultivars differing in leaf size to grazing method (continuous vs. rotational stocking) using cattle (Bos spp.). In each of 2 yr, a predominantly tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) sod on a Savannah fine sandy loam (fine-loamy siliceous, thermic Typic Fragiudult) was oversown in September with ‘Grasslands Huia’ (medium-small leaf), ‘Louisiana S-1’ (medium-large leaf), and ‘Regal’ (large leaf) white clover. From March to August of the following year, plots of each cultivar were stocked continuously (3- to 5-cm stubble) rotationally (grazed to 5-cm stubble every 35 to 38 d). Clover growth was measured prior to rotational grazing and stolon survival was determined in November. When precipitation during the grazing season was 59% above normal, grazing method had no influence on mean single leaf area, stolon dry weight, and stolon growing point density of white clover. In contrast, continuous stocking reduced these responses when precipitation was 32% below normal the following year. Cultivar ranking for mean single leaf area was generally the same as that for leaf size category: Grasslands Huia < Louisiana S-1 < Regal. Although stolon length and growing point density were frequently greatest for Grasslands Huia, stolon survival of Grasslands Huia was no greater than that of the larger-leafed cultivars. Despite varying effects of grazing method on growth and morphology, stolon survival of white clover was always greater under rotational stocking.
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