Tropical Grasslands (1985) Volume 19, 4–10

INFLUENCE OF STOCKING RATE ON THE RECOVERY OF LEGUME IN TROPICAL GRASS–LEGUME PASTURES

T.M. DAVISON and G.W. BROWN

Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Kairi Research Station, Kairi, 4872.

Abstract

A pasture of Gatton panic (Panicum maximum), Tinaroo glycine (Neonotonia wightii) and Greenleaf desmodium (Desmodium intortum) stocked at 2 cows ha-1 for three years from 1977 to 1979 rapidly lost its legume content. In spring 1979 four management treatments were imposed and legume recovery measured for the next three years. Two reduced stocking rates (1 cow ha-1, one with an extra 250 kg ha-1 yr-1 of superphosphate) and destocking led to a rapid recovery of legume yield by autumn 1980 and this continued to increase with time. Maintenance of the 2 cows ha-1 stocking rate led to a continuing decline in legume content and yield, decreasing from 28% (1055 kg DM ha-1) in autumn 1977 to 3%. (118 kg DM ha-1 by autumn 1981. Following destocking of this area in spring 1981 legume recovery was also rapid. It is concluded that either destocking over summer or reducing the stocking rate will lead to the recovery of twining legumes from overstocked pastures.

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