How does the sward condition in late winter influence the Marandu palisade grass (Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) structure during spring and summer?

Manoel E.R. Santos, Bruno H.R. Carvalho, Flávia O.S. van Cleef, Gabriel O. Rocha, Henrique C.R. Nogueira, Gustavo S. Borges


Height and mowing of a sward in late winter can change its structure during the subsequent spring and summer seasons, which influences plant growth and animal performance. This work was conducted to evaluate the structural characteristics of Urochloa brizantha (syn. Brachiaria brizantha) cv. Marandu (marandu palisadegrass) during spring and summer in relation to the following sward conditions in late winter: short (15 cm), medium (23 cm), tall (31 cm) and tall (31 cm)/mowed to 8 cm. Stages of the grazing period (beginning, middle and end) in spring and summer were considered measures repeated over time. Leaf area index was lower in the tall pasture than in the other pastures and was lower at the beginning than at the end of the grazing period. Dead material mass was highest in the tall pasture, intermediate in the short and medium pastures and lowest in the tall/mowed pasture. Live stem mass was higher at the end than at the beginning and middle of the grazing period of the short, medium and tall/mowed pastures, contrary to that observed in the tall sward. At the end of the grazing period, tiller number did not vary among pastures. The tall pasture in late winter presents a limiting structure to animal consumption. Short and tall/mowed pastures in late winter show a favorable structure for forage plant growth and, probably, animal performance.

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