Smart renewal of long-term grassland: towards higher productivity and profitability (LONGTERM GRASS)

Project Detail

Smart renewal of long-term grassland: towards higher productivity and profitability (LONGTERM GRASS)

The project aims to optimise forage production and quality in long-term swards. The main research tasks are: - to test reseeding/renovation methods in old grasslands under contrasting climate and soil conditions (WP1); - to study the influence of soil liming and fertilisation on herbage yield, soil physical properties, decomposition rate and plant nutrient uptake (WP1); - to develop seed mixtures appropriate for long-term grasslands with reduced soil tillage and increase the establishment of lucerne by appropriate inoculation (WP2); - to assess weed infestation and seed bank in old swards and based on that develop the methods for mechanical and chemical weed control (WP3); - to investigate to what degree the age of sward and management practices affect couch grass density and what it means for productivity and forage quality (WP3); - to calculate the economic value of maintaining long-term sward (WP4). The project uses an integrated approach in combining field experiments with experiments in a phytotron/greenhouse, use of advanced chemical analyses, and farm-economic assessments. The project will be limited to selected cultivars of forage plants with cultivars of well-adapted species like timothy, meadow and tall fescue (Festuca spp.), smooth meadow grass (Poa pratensis L.) and white and red clover (Trifolium spp.), non-adapted species like perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), which will be included due to the regrowth capabilities in a prolonged growing season, and lucerne which is currently restricted due to insufficient interaction with the soil microbial life. The project will focus on forage quantity and quality. Because of large variation in climate (coastal - inland, south - north) and soil types at diverse sites, field experiments will be established in coastal, inland and mountain areas of Norway. A part of these studies will be followed by similar studies under controlled conditions in a phytotron or greenhouse.

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  • Rothamsted Research

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