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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
ZANINI, Guilherme Doneda; SANTOS, Gabriela Trevisan and SBRISSIA, André Fischer. Frequencies and intensities of defoliation in Aruana guineagrass swards: morphogenetic and structural characteristics. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2012, vol.41, n.8, pp.1848-1857. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982012000800007.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the morphogenetic and structural characteristics of Aruana guineagrass pastures (Panicum maximum cv. Aruana) subjected to rotational stocking by sheep. The treatments corresponded to grazing when swards reached 95 or 98% of interception of incident light (LI) until post-grazing heights of 10 and 15cm and were allocated to experimental units (plots of 196 m2), according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement in a completely randomized design, with three replications, from January to May 2009. The morphogenetic assessments included: leaf appearance and elongation rates (LAR and LER), phyllochron (PHY) and leaf life span (LLS). Structural evaluations assessed the number of green leaves (NGL), dead leaves (NDL) and expanded leaves (NEL) per tiller, tiller population density (TPD) and final leaf length (FLL). The pre-grazing sward height relatively constant during the experimental period, with values ranging between 30 and 40 cm for treatments of 95 and 98% of LI, respectively, indicating potential for the development and use of management practices based on pasture conditions goals. The morphogenetic and structural characteristics were influenced by the frequency and intensity of grazing adopted, as well as by the seasons, implying that the capacity and speed for the recovery of Aruana grass pastures after grazing depend mainly on the management and edaphoclimatic conditions. The best grazing management for Aruana guineagrass is 95% canopy light interception, i.e., 30 cm pre-grazing height pastures interrupted when reaching 15 cm residue.
Keywords : grazing management; morphogenesis; Panicum maximum; sward height.