• Cutting frequency and cutting height effects on rough fescue and parry oat grass yields

      Willms, W. D. (Society for Range Management, 1991-01-01)
      A study was made in the Rough Fescue Grasslands of southwestern Alberta to determine the yield response of rough fescue (Festuca scabrella var campestris Rydb.) and Parry oat grass (Danthonia parryi Scribn.) to 5 cutting frequencies and 3 heights over a 1-year period. The same plants were cut either 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 times over a 16-week period beginning in mid-May, at 16-, 8-, 4-, 2-, or 1-week intervals, respectively, and at heights of either 5, 10, or 15 cm above ground level. Yield response to cutting treatments differed significantly from the flrst to the third treatment year. In the first year, rough fescue and Parry oat grass produced most forage when cut at a height of 5 cm with 1, 2, or 4 cuts. By the third year, rough fescue produced the greatest yields with a single cut after 16 weeks and Parry oat grass produced the greatest yields when cut at 10 or 15 cm at 1-week intervals. The data confirm the high sensitivity of rough fescue to grazing while the plant is growing and suggest that the greatest benefit from the Rough Fescue Grasslands may be derived by grazing in fall or winter. Summer grazing favors Parry oatgrass, which is more tolerant than rough fescue, but forage production on the grassland is reduced.