African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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Pasture-use patterns on dairy and beef farms in the Natal Midlands.

CAH Heard, PJ Edwards, NM Tainton


Pasture sites for each of the species grown are classified for both dryland and irrigated pastures in the Natal Midlands. Only six species viz. Kikuyu, Italian ryegrass, Eragrostis curvula, Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue), Dactylis glomerata (cocksfoot) and Trifolium repens (white clover) are widely used. Italian ryegrass pastures are grown almost exclusively under irrigation; clover is more widely used than is generally appreciated; a reasonably large portion of E. curvula, cocksfoot and tall fescue pastures have a longevity in excess of 10 years; and the siting of pastures appears to be primarily a function of availability of suitable land and is largely independent of soil type and aspect. Pastures are largely sited on high potential arable land, with little apparent trend towards intensification of steep non-arable sites. The survey suggests that research should be directed at a small number of species rather than dissipated over many species which are unlikely to make any major contribution to pasture production.

Keywords: Beef farms; dactylis glomerata; Dairy farms; dryland; eragrostis curvula; fescue; festuca arundinacea; irrigation; italian ryegrass; kikuyu; KwaZulu/Natal Midlands; Land use patterns; longevity; natal midlands; pasture longevity; pasture planning dates; pasture potential rating; pasture production; pasture site selection; pasture survey; Pasture-use patterns; pastures; Planting dates; production; ryegrass; Site selection; south africa; tall fescue; trifolium repens; white clover

Journal of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa.

AJOL African Journals Online