Leaf and Stem Mass Characteristics of Cool-Season Grasses Grown in the Canadian Parkland
- Vern S. Baron *a,
- Alistair C. Dicka and
- Jane R. Kingb
Grasses adapted to both hay and pasture are lacking in the prairie parkland. `Regar' meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rhem.), `Manchar' smooth bromegrass (B. inermis Leyss.), S9044 (a smooth–meadow bromegrass cross), common meadow foxtail (Alopercurus pratensis L.), and `Kay' orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) were evaluated for traits useful in dual purpose grass species at early (late May), late (late June), and regrowth (early September) harvests. Herbage, leaf, and stem nutritive value; mass; and leaf/stem ratio were determined. Differences among species were related more to herbage mass and morphology than to leaf and stem quality. Early harvest orchardgrass herbage mass was low at 55% of meadow foxtail (2.9 Mg ha−1). However, stem content of meadow foxtail represented 60% of early herbage mass, limiting its potential. Regrowth mass of meadow bromegrass, S9044, and orchardgrass exceeded 2.5 Mg ha−1, whereas smooth bromegrass and meadow foxtail were as low as 2.1 Mg ha−1 Regrowth leaf mass of the former species exceeded 1.9 Mg ha−1 Late herbage mass of smooth bromegrass was always greater than the other species. Leaf acid detergent fiber (ADF) of S9044 and smooth bromegrass was lower (range 189–242 g kg−1) than meadow bromegrass (range 217–284 g kg−1). By contrast, late and regrowth harvest stem ADF of meadow bromegrass was lower (range 237–360 g kg−1) than S9044 (range 257–366 g kg−1). Variation among Bromus types for late and regrowth yield, and leaf fiber may influence management strategies.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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