Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #172859


item Barker, D
item Sulc, M
item Burgess, M
item Hall, M
item Deak, A
item Sanderson, Matt

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2004
Publication Date: 12/20/2004
Citation: Barker, D.J., Sulc, M., Burgess, M., Hall, M.H., Deak, A., Sanderson, M.A. 2004. Effects of biodiversity on forage yield in wet and dry years[abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. CDROM. Paper No. C-06.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between species number (pasture biodiversity) and yield is of particular interest to producers interested in maximizing forage production. In stable environments with good moisture and fertility, yield is likely to be maximized with low species richness, i.e. the species (and variety) best adapted to that environment. However, in variable environments, especially as occurs in successive wet and dry years, the best adapted species varies between years, and average yield is likely to be greatest from a mixture of species. This study was conducted with treatments varying up to 12 species, in 3 environments (OH & PA) over 2 years that happened to be above and below average rainfall. Plots were grazed with cattle, and yield was measured with a calibrated rising plate meter. The best species varied between sites (and in a single year-location) included chicory, orchardgrass and festulolium. Over all the sites and years, the best yield was found for species-rich mixtures, with 6 or 9 species. We concluded that producers might make greater use of species-rich mixtures for pastures with a productive live of 5 or more years.