- Agronomic: general hay and forage crops, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Additional Plants: native plants
- Animals: bovine
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: grazing management, stockpiled forages, feed/forage
A pasture with a natural extensive stand of herbaceous mimosa in Franklin Parish Louisiana will be used to evaluate responses of the legume to defoliation treatments. These will include continuation of the management approach that includes some grazing rotation which has allowed the legume to survive in a commercial pasture production system and less-frequent defoliation involving protection from grazing using exclusion cages to provide deferment from grazing during either spring (May and June), summer (July and August), or autumn (September and October). Since herbaceous mimosa is seldom more than a minor component of frequently grazed pastures despite wide adaptation, grazing management approaches contributing to vigor and expansion of populations of the legume are of particular interest. Populations of this legume spread readily under favorable conditions from both extensive stolon growth and vigorous seed production. Increases in vigor and growth could also contribute to greater forage productivity and opportunity for increased nitrogen fixation. Effects of the three deferment treatments (caged sites) on seasonal distribution of forage, forage nutritive value through the growing season, seed production, and density of the legume stands will be determined by sampling in late June, late August, and late October at the end of each of the three grazing deferment periods. Each of these treatments will be replicated three times for a total of nine caged sites. Caged sites for a particular season and three unique uncaged sites will be sampled at the end of the respective seasons. (June sampling will be from the spring-deferred treatment and three non-caged sites.) Sites caged in spring will be sampled again in August and October (but not from previously clipped portions of the area) to assess any residual effects of the treatment. Sites caged in summer will also be sampled in October to assess residual effects. Overall treatment effects will be assessed with ratings of stand density and plant vigor as new growth is initiated the following spring after winter dormancy and compared with pre-treatment stand density measures to be made at initiation of the experiment. Treatments will be continued at the same sites through the second year.
Project objectives from proposal:
Gain an understanding of the impact of grazing deferment management strategies on sustainability of herbaceous mimosa in pastures which should provide a basis for more widespread utilization of this native legume.