Submitted to: Recent Research Developments in Agronomy
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Grasslands are the foundation of forage-livestock systems worldwide. Management of these grasslands often requires estimating growth stage or morphological development. This paper compares several scales used to quantify changes in morphological development of herbage grasses and as management tools in grassland systems. Several scales have been developed and used to quantify development of C3 and C4 grasses, including generic scales meant to be applied to many perennial grasses and scales specific for individual species. Limited success has been achieved in using developmental stages as predictors of forage quality. Most of these scales have been developed and used in machine-harvested systems, and their utility in grazed systems may be limited. Variances among grass species preclude the applicability of one universal scale for quantifying changes in morphological development. The derivation of many scales for describing gdevelopment of herbage grasses can be traced to scales developed initially for cereal crops. Complex scales with many primary and secondary stages and laborious separation procedures are not likely to be used by practitioners, but may be suitable for research.