108(3)_str 31


ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 108, No. 3 (2021), p. 241–246
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2021.108.031

Productivity potential of three tetraploid ryegrass cultivars and their mixture in new swards with clovers



Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is cultivated in many countries for its high yield and good quality forage. Its cultivars have specific functional traits, such as phenology, growth habit and rate, which affect the competitiveness and productivity of mixtures. The cultivation of new cultivars of perennial ryegrass or mixtures of cultivars in swards is one of the complementary measures to improve the condition of swards.

The study was aimed to determine the productivity potential of three newer, less investigated Lithuanian perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars ‘Elena DS’, ‘Raminta’, ‘Verseka’, and cultivar mixtures in single-species swards and in mixtures with legumes – white and red clover. The experiment was set up in the central part of Lithuania in the Nemoral climate zone. Mineral fertilisers were not used for the mixtures with legumes, single-species crops were fertilised with N150 kg ha-1 yr-1. Over the two experimental years, the average dry matter yield of perennial ryegrass was 8.00 t ha-1 for the ‘Elena DS’, 7.4 t ha-1 for ‘Verseka’, 6.9 t ha-1 for ‘Raminta’ and 7.4 t ha-1 for the cultivar mixture. In the 1st year of sward use, the productivity of the perennial ryegrass cultivars did not differ significantly. In the 2nd year, the productivity of ‘Elena DS’ was significantly higher compared with that of the other cultivars cultivated in single-species crops. The influence of functional traits of the cultivars was significant in the first year of cultivation and persisted in single-species swards but not in mixtures from the second year onwards. The plants of the cultivar ‘Elena DS’ allowed the development of clover in the mixture, resulting in an increase in herbage productivity and crude protein content.

The results of the experiment suggest that a mixture of perennial ryegrass cultivars can be used in swards, as a similar dry matter yield was recorded compared to a single-cultivar swards. However, the benefits of swards may vary from season to season, and more research is needed to assess the impact of a mixture of cultivars on grass productivity and quality with ageing of swards and accumulation in different environmental conditions.

Key words: dry matter yield, Lolium perenne, red clover, species richness, white clover.

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