Grazing duration effects on seed yield of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rb68xg605

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  • Spring grazing of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) seed fields with sheep is a common practice in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. However, the effect of grazing on seed yield in Oregon has not previously been investigated. This experiment was designed to determine the effects of duration of spring grazing annual nyegrass with sheep on vegetative growth, reproductive development, seed yield and yield components. A two year field study was conducted in 1978 - 79 on fall seeded annual ryegrass grazed the following spring at a constant stocking rate. Treatments consisted of different grazing durations and an ungrazed control. Sod strips were removed throughout the spring to measure changes in vegetative growth, and quadrats were taken at seed maturity to examine several seed yield components. Results indicate no effect on the number of plants per unit area, however, increased grazing duration resulted in a significantly greater number of vegetative tillers per plant. The number of fertile tillers at harvest were significantly greater in the grazed treatments than in the non-grazed treatments. However, the percentage of vegetative tillers which became reproductive were significantly lower in the longer grazing treatments. No effect on seed yield or total plant dry weight at harvest was observed for either year. In 1978, grazing through early April significantly reduced seed weight per 400 seeds but did not effect the number of spikelets per spike or the number of fertile florets per spikelet. In contrast, similar grazing duration in 1979 did not effect seed weight per 400 seeds but did significantly reduce the number of spikelets per spike and the number of fertile florets per spikelet. It was concluded that grazing fall seeded annual ryegrass into early/mid-April will not reduce seed yield, although alterations in the components of seed yield and yield component compensation can be expected.
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