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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


GIACOMINI, Alessandra Aparecida et al. Growth of marandu palisadegrass subjected to strategies of intermittent stocking. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2009, vol.66, n.6, pp.733-741. ISSN 1678-992X.

Grazing strategies alter sward leaf area patterns of growth, affecting herbage accumulation and utilisation. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the growth of marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu) swards subjected to strategies of intermittent stocking. The experiment was carried out in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, from October/2004 to September/2005. Swards were grazed at 95 and 100% canopy light interception (LI) to post-grazing heights of 10 and 15 cm, following a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with four replications in a randomised complete block design. The response variables evaluated were: crop growth rate, relative growth rate, net assimilation rate, leaf area ratio and leaf weight ratio. In early and late spring, the highest crop growth rate was recorded for treatment 95/15 (11.2 and 10.1 g m-2 day-1, respectively), along with high values of net assimilation rate (4.4 and 6.9 g m-2 day-1, respectively), leaf area ratio (0.0095 and 0.0103 m-2 g-1, respectively) and leaf weight ratio (0.56 and 0.56 g g-1, respectively). To compensate reductions in net assimilation rate plants made some morphological and physiological adjustments increasing leaf area and leaf weight ratio. Relative growth rate and net assimilation rate were 26 and 50% higher, respectively, on swards grazed at 95% than at 100% LI. In early spring treatments 100/10 and 95/15 resulted in the highest relative growth rate (0.086 and 0.059 g m-2 day-1, respectively). Treatment 95/15 resulted in the most favourable pattern of growth (crop growth rate, relative growth rate, net assimilation rate), particularly during the transition period between winter and spring.

Keywords : Brachiaria brizantha; canopy light interception; regrowth; grazing management.

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