The University of Arizona

Irrigation impact on harvest efficiency in grazed Old World bluestem.

W.R. Teague, S.L. Dowhower

Abstract


In 1992 and 1993, pastures of WW-Spar Old World bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum L.) were maintained at 2 levels of soil water, rainfall and rainfall plus 25 mm/week of supplementary irrigation. At both moisture levels the grass was maintained at 2 levels of standing crop, averaging 1,548 and 2,154 kg ha(-1), using continuous variable stocking. Measurements were made to determine how different levels of soil moisture interacted with grazing intensity to change leaf area index, leaf-stem and live-dead ratios, tiller density, and the proportion of gross leaf production that was grazed (harvest efficiency). The proportions of live to dead, and leaf and stem biomass, remained constant under the different levels of soil water content. Soil water content alone had no effect on leaf area index, tiller density and the proportion of live or dead, leaf and stem. Winter tiller survival was significantly higher in the pastures with higher soil water content. Increasing soil water content and increasing grazing intensity interacted to reduce the proportion of dead leaf, increase production of new tillers, and increase the proportion of leaf grazed by decreasing leaf that died and was not grazed. This study indicates that if continuously grazed Old World bluestem was maintained at a standing crop of 1,500 kg ha(-1), harvest efficiency would be higher in wet years or under irrigation than if standing crop was higher.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v55i3_teague


Keywords


irrigated conditions;irrigated pastures;leaves;ratios;stems;continuous grazing;Bothriochloa ischaemum;rain;leaf area index;steers;tillering;grazing intensity;plant density;Texas;biomass;plant height;soil water

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