Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and consumption in pastures
electronic capacitance probe
rate of defoliation
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CitationHirata, M. (2000). Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and consumption in pastures. Journal of Range Management, 53(3), 315-321.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractA sward-based technique for quantifying the spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and consumption was developed and tested in a bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) pasture grazed by cattle. For five, 2-day grazing periods from May to October, pre- and post-grazing herbage masses were nondestructively estimated with an electronic capacitance probe at 182, 50x50 cm locations along 2 permanent line transects. At the same time, undisturbed herbage accumulation during grazing was measured inside exclosures and the results used to estimate accumulation under grazing at each location. Estimation of herbage mass was relatively good; R2= 0.88 to 0.98. Spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and the stability of the spatial pattern were well quantified. The pattern of spatial heterogeneity observed early in the grazing season remained quite stable for 5 months until the late grazing season. Spatial heterogeneity in the rate of defoliation was also well quantified in spite of some negative values. The technique is of potential value for quantifying the spatial hetero-geneity in herbage mass and consumption by animals in grazed pastures, though further studies are necessary for testing the applicability of the technique to pastures of other plant species or of multiple species.