Effects of multi-species swards on dry matter production and the incidence of unsown species at three Irish sites

Connolly, J. and Finn, J. A. and Black, A. D. and Kirwan, L. and Brophy, C. and Luscher, A. (2009) Effects of multi-species swards on dry matter production and the incidence of unsown species at three Irish sites. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 48 (2). pp. 243-260.

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Abstract

Recent ecological research provides evidence that an increased number of plant species in natural grasslands is associated with increased biomass productivity, and provides a wide range of other ecosystem benefits. This suggests that increases in species diversity in agricultural ecosystems may similarly lead to increased benefits. The work reported below was part of the COST 852 Agrodiversity experiment, carried out at 34 sites across Europe. In Ireland, the effects of four-species grass-clover mixtures on herbage production, species persistence and unsown species suppression at three sites over multiple years, were investigated under growing conditions that were intensive relative to unfertilised natural grassland systems. The design included a range of four-species mixtures and monocultures of perennial ryegrass, timothy, cocksfoot, white clover, red clover and Caucasian clover. Several harvests were taken at each site for two or three years. Species diversity had a strong, persistent and positive effect on overall yield and the yield of sown species, and enhanced resistance to the growth of unsown species. Mixtures generally yielded well when compared with the best monoculture, and sometimes out yielded it. These effects on total yield declined over time but were still important at the end of the experiments. The diversity effects on sown species yield and on resistance to unsown species increased with time. Diversity effects were robust to changes in species composition, and persisted for the duration of the experiments across mixtures and over time. Virtually every mixture had a higher yield, and suppressed unsown species better, than monocultures of perennial ryegrass. These patterns were broadly consistent across sites. The persistence of species varied widely and was not consistent across sites.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 632LT Times Cited: 5 Cited Reference Count: 41 Connolly, J. Finn, J. A. Black, A. D. Kirwan, L. Brophy, C. Luescher, A. EU Commission; Science Foundation Ireland [09/RFP/EOB2546] The work was supported by a grant from the EU Commission through COST Action 852 and with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under Grant Number 09/RFP/EOB2546. TEAGASC CARLOW
Uncontrolled Keywords: grass-clover mixtures over-yielding simplex design transgressive over-yielding unsown species suppression EXPERIMENTAL GRASSLAND COMMUNITIES PERENNIAL RYEGRASS TEMPERATE FORAGE BIODIVERSITY ECOSYSTEM DIVERSITY COMPLEMENTARITY PLANTS COMPETITION STABILITY
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: *NONE OF THESE*
Depositing User: Laura Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2012 11:37
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:26
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/1839

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