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Effect of cutting frequency on species richness and dry matter yield of permanent grassland after grazing cessation

Stybnarova, Marie, Hakl, Josef, Bilosova, Hana, Micova, Pavlína, Latal, Oldrich, Pozdisek, Jan
Archiv für Acker- und Pflanzenbau und Bodenkunde 2016 v.62 no.8 pp. 1182-1193
botanical composition, cutting, dry matter accumulation, forage grasses, forage yield, grasslands, grazing, Czech Republic
The effect of grazing cessation management has only rarely been investigated. In this study, the influence of cutting regime in the absence of fertilization was examined during 2005–2011 on a semi-natural grassland in Rapotin (Czech Republic) which had been grazed for more than 30 years before the start of the trial. This was conducted as a randomized plot design with five levels of treatment: 4 C – intensive (four cuts per year); 3 C – medium intensive (three cuts per year); 2 C – low intensive (two cuts per year); 1 C – extensive (one cut per year); 0 C – abandoned (control; without any management). Species richness was significantly lower in treatments 1 C and 0 C than in other treatments. Management and year had similar and significant influence on species composition and explained 23% of its variability. Dry matter (DM) yields were found to be lower in three-cut than in two-cut treatments (5.56 t ha ⁻¹ and 6.22 t ha ⁻¹, respectively). In the case of grazing cessation, a suitable compromise of three cuts per year can be recommended to guarantee maintenance of species richness, botanical composition, and appropriate grass forage yield under similar site conditions.