Clipping Effects on the Growth Variation, Water Use Efficiency and Photosynthetic Activity in Buffel Grass ( Cenchrus ciliaris L.) Poaceae
ABSTRACT Buffel grass ( Cenchrus ciliaris ) growth, biomass allocation to root and shoot, water use efficiency and photosynthetic activity were measured in response to two defoliation heights (5 and 3 cm). Results showed that plants clipped at 5 cm showed a significant increase of diameter and water use efficiency as well as higher leaf water potential with a subsequent increase of stomatal conductance and photosynthetic activity. On the other hand, plants clipped at 3 cm presented an increase in photosynthetic activity parameters but a significant decrease in all growth parameters and water use efficiency.
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ABSTRACT: We report the results of a pot experiment that examined the effects of three ecologically important factors controlling plant growth rates in savanna grasslands: defoliation, soil nitrogen and soil water availability. The experiment was conducted in the Amboseli region in east Africa, and was designed to simulate natural conditions as far as possible, using local soils and a grass species that is heavily grazed by abundant large herbivores. Productivity by different plant components was reduced, stimulated or unchanged by defoliation, depending on specific watering and fertilization treatments. Total above-ground production was stimulated by defoliation and was maximized at moderate clipping intensities, but this was statistically significant only when plants were watered infrequently (every 8 days), and most important, periods between clipping events were extended (at least 24 days). Under these conditions, plant growth rates were limited by water availability at the time of clipping, and soil water conserved in clipped, compared to unclipped plants. Within a given fertilization treatment, whole-plant production was never stimulated by defoliation because root growth was unaffected or inhibited by clipping. However, when fertilization was coupled to defoliation, as they are in the field, whole-plant production by fertilized and moderately clipped plants exceeded production by infertilized, unclipped plants. Under this interpretation, maximum whole-plant production coincided with optimum conditions for herbivores (maximum nitrogen concentration in grass leaves) when watering was frequent, and plants were moderately defoliated. However, these conditions were not the same as those that maximized relative above-ground stimulation of growth (infrequent watering and clipping).The results indicate that above-ground grass production can be stimulated by grazing, and when that is likely to occur. However, the results emphasize that plant production responses to defoliation can vary widely, contigent upon a complex interaction of ecological factors.Oecologia 10/1989; 81(3):316-322. · 3.01 Impact Factor
- Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture - AUST J EXP AGR. 01/1992; 32(3).
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ABSTRACT: Effects of sward height and density on the dimensions and weights of bites taken by cattle were examined. In one experiment, swards of dallisgrass lamina were constructed by hand in a factorial combination of four heights (80, 150, 180 and 300 mm) and three densities (c. 700, 1500 and 2700 g m−3). In the other, swards of lucerne were constructed in a factorial combination of three heights (70, 150 and 250 mm) and three densities (1500, 2800 and 5900 g m−3). Treatments were replicated on three steers of 750 kg average weight. The first six bites taken from the sward were monitored, and functional relationships between sward characteristics and bite dimensions derived. Results from both experiments were similar. Average bite area was not constant as often assumed, but decreased linearly with density and increased quadratically with height, with slope negatively affected by density and height. In tail swards, bite area reached a plateau of c. 170 cm2, determined by the sweep of the tongue. In contrast with the widely used model, bite depth increased linearly with height, with slope negatively affected by density. Response of bite dimensions was explained by the mechanics of the interaction between tongue and jaw movements, and sward structure. Bite weight varied less than bite dimensions, because of compensatory effects between bite area, bite depth and density. Animals obtained heavier bites in tall sparse swards than on short dense ones of equal mass/area. Even in homogeneous swards, both density and height are necessary to predict bite weight.Grass and Forage Science 02/1992; 47(1):91 - 102. · 1.57 Impact Factor