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Carbon and nitrogen reserves in marandu palisade grass subjected to intensities of continuous stocking management

  • S. C. DA SILVA (a1), L. E. T. PEREIRA (a1), A. F. SBRISSIA (a2) and A. HERNANDEZ-GARAY (a3)

Summary

Plant organic reserves and sward leaf area index (LAI) influence plant growth, persistency and herbage accumulation in grazed swards. The present study was conducted to describe patterns of variation in herbage accumulation and carbohydrate and nitrogen (N) reserves in shoot and root of marandu palisade grass subjected to intensities of continuous stocking management throughout the year. Treatments corresponded to four levels of grazing intensity – severe (S), severe/moderate (S/M), moderate (M) and lenient (L) – and were implemented in the field using bands of sward surface height (SSH – 10, 20, 30 and 40 cm ± 10%, respectively) maintained through continuous stocking and variable stocking rate. Total N concentration was higher in the shoot relative to the root compartment during autumn, early and late spring. On the other hand, the concentration of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and soluble N was higher in the root compartment, regardless of grazing intensity and season of the year. When taking into account the pool of C and N reserves, the shoot compartment represented the main storage organ, since it corresponded to the largest pool of NSC (averages of 0·102 ± 0·0038 and 0·201 ± 0·0088 kg/m2 for root and shoot, respectively) and soluble N (averages of 2·7 ± 0·26 and 5·3 ± 0·59 kg/m2 for root and shoot, respectively). During late spring, the time of active plant growth, there was a clear contrast in herbage accumulation and sward LAI among grazing intensities, particularly between the severe and lenient grazing treatments. The results show that even with larger pools of soluble N and NSC in the shoot compartment, herbage accumulation was limited by the reduced leaf area of swards subjected to the severe grazing treatment, indicating that under continuous stocking growth seems to be sustained by current assimilates instead of organic reserves. Therefore, targets of grazing management for maximizing herbage accumulation throughout the year should provide adequate combinations between quantity and quality of sward leaf area. This condition was obtained in the severe/moderate and moderate grazing intensities, and corresponded to sward heights between 20 and 30 cm for marandu palisade grass.

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Corresponding author

* To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: siladasilva@usp.br

References

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Carbon and nitrogen reserves in marandu palisade grass subjected to intensities of continuous stocking management

  • S. C. DA SILVA (a1), L. E. T. PEREIRA (a1), A. F. SBRISSIA (a2) and A. HERNANDEZ-GARAY (a3)

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