Tropical Grasslands (1989) Volume 23, 211218
BURNING, THEN RESTING, REDUCES WIREGRASS (Aristida spp.) IN BLACK SPEARGRASS PASTURES
C.J. PATON and K.G. RICKERT
Queensland Department of Primary Industries, "Brian Pastures" Research Station, Gayndah, Qld, 4625.
Wiregrasses (Aristida spp.) are becoming more prevalent, causing reduced productivity, in the black speargrass (Heterpogon contortus) pastures of south-east Queensland. Burning a native pasture of poor botanical composition (with a high proportion of wiregrass) in spring, and resting a heavily-grazed pasture also of poor composition, both improved the condition of these pastures. However, burning in late summer did not. Three months after burning in spring, relative density of wiregrass had decreased and that of a desirable species, black speargrass, had increased. However, this effect did not persist under continuous and heavy grazing. Resting increased threefold both the yield of pasture and the proportion of black speargrass, and decreased the proportion of wiregrass by two-thirds. Burning in late summer had no effect on the relative density of black speargrass but relative density of wiregrass increased. Selective grazing after burning in late summer kept this pasture in very poor condition for 14 months.