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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 1516-3598On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


MARCELINO, Kênia Régia Anasenko et al. Morphogenetic and structural traits and herbage production of marandugrass under intensities and frequencies of defoliation. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.6, pp.2243-2252. ISSN 1516-3598.

This trial was carried out to evaluate the influence of defoliation intensities (10 and 20 cm stubble height) and defoliation frequencies (three cut intervals based on the appearance of 5, 7 and 9 leaves/tiller after each defoliation event) on the morphogenetic and structural traits, tillering and herbage production of Brachiaria brizantha cv Marandu swards. Treatments were allocated to experimental units according to a completely randomized design, in a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement, with three replications, in a total of 18 experimental units. Two cuts were performed in the most frequent treatment and one cut for the remaining treatments. Greater defoliation intensity resulted in greater leaf tissue turn over and, when combined to greater defoliation frequencies resulted in younger tillers, which grew up in an environment with lesser light competition. Cutting intensity at 20 cm favored tiller transition from vegetative to reproductive stage, resulting in greater contribution of pseudo stem and dead material to the herbage mass. If frequent defoliation is used, the 10 cm stubble height is the recommended intensity. If less frequent defoliation is used, the 10 cm stubble height may decrease herbage yield, mainly when using the seven leaves frequency. Greater defoliation frequencies showed greater sward renovation, with greater leaf elongation and leaf appearance rates, greater leaf blade length and lesser pseudo-stem accumulation and elongation. Although greater herbage production was obtained at the 20 cm cutting height and 7 leaves frequency, considering all evaluated traits, more frequent cuts promoted greater tissue turn over with high herbage production characterized by its high amount of leaves and less amount of pseudo stem and dead material, allowing for higher herbage production efficiency.

Keywords : brachiariagrass; cutting height; grass; herbage accumulation; productivity.

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