The aim of this work was to evaluate the forage accumulation and sward structure of Xaraés grass subjected to five residue heights (10; 20; 30; 40 and 50 cm) with cutting interval based on light interception (LI) by sward during the regrowth (95% of LI). The experiment was conducted in forage production sector of the Agrarian and Environmental Sciences Center of the Federal University of Maranhão, in Chapadinha, in the period from March to November of 2011. A completely randomized design with five repetitions was used. The rest period based on 95% LI strategy varied according to the residue heights and time of year. There was effect of cutting heights for the production of forage, the density of tillers, the number of living tillers, sward height and volumetric density of forage. Only the leaf/stem ratio and the rate of forage accumulation were not influenced by the factors studied, in the rainy season of 2011. In the dry season, the pastures of Xaraés grass were affected in a negative way for all features evaluated, regardless of heights of residue. In General, more drastic cuts intensities (10 cm) promote higher forage production, greater density of tillers, larger number of dead tillers and higher density, however, results in less number of cuts and greater interval between cuts. The reverse occurs with more lenient cuts intensities (40 and 50 cm).
cutting height; volumetric density; leaf area index; light interception; rate of forage accumulation