Effect of defoliation frequency on an irrigated perennial pasture in northern Victoria. 1. Seasonal production and sward composition Academic Article uri icon


  • A field experiment was carried out to investigate whether changes in winter and post-winter defoliation frequency would increase the white clover content of an irrigated perennial ryegrass–white clover pasture in northern Victoria. Pastures defoliated every 4 weeks during winter had higher white clover growing point (stolon apices with at least 2 nodes) density at the end of winter than pastures defoliated every 8 weeks or those receiving a single defoliation after 16 weeks, but these differences did not affect the clover content in the spring. Reasons for this are suggested. Pastures defoliated at 8-week intervals in winter were the most productive over winter{early spring. Less frequent defoliation (4 v. 2 weeks) during the post-winter, September–May period reduced white clover growing point and perennial ryegrass tiller densities. However, the white clover growth rate during this period was increased by less frequent defoliation, whereas the ryegrass growth rate was reduced, resulting in an increase of 10% in the white clover content, and a 1·9 t dry matter (DM)/ha increase in total DM produced. This higher clover content and pasture yield during spring–autumn with less frequent defoliation has important implications for the management of irrigated perennial pastures for the dairy industry in northern Victoria.

publication date

  • 1997