Management of Natural Kentucky Bluegrass - White Clover Pasture
Bill Murphy, Joshua Silman, Lisa McCrory, Sarah Flack, Abdon Schmitt and Nthoana Mzamane
Duration: 1992 - 1993
Management recommendations are needed for low-input (no N fertilizer) Kentucky bluegrass dominate/white clover swards, particularly to increase and/or maintain white clover content. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of frequency and intensity of grazing, combined with harrowing and soil aeration, on botanical composition and forage yield of a natural pasture. Treatments included pre- and postgrazing mass (total amount of forage present), harrowing, and soil aeration. Lactating Holstein cows grazed paddocks every time pregrazing masses reached either 2100 or 2400 lbs. DM/acre (4 verses 6 inches). Within each pregrazing mass treatment, heifers and dry cows followed milkers, grazing down to residual masses of 1000 or 1400 lbs. DM/acre (1 verses 2 inches). These naturalized pastures were composed of Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, quackgrass, timothy, white clover, dandelion and chicory. Soil aeration and harrowing did not affect botanical composition, plant components or forage yield. Pre- and postgrazing mass did not affect botanical composition or plant components, but did influence total forage yield. White clover tended to increase under all pasture mass treatments. In the first year, the highest pregrazing mass resulted in the most forage yeild (ave.=4997 lb DM/acre); residual had no effect. During the second year, pregrazing mass had no effect on yield, but the lowest residuals (grazing to 1 inch) produced the most forage compared to the highest residual.