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New Zealand Plant Protection 64 (2011): 68-74

Weed ingress and pasture persistence in Bay of Plenty dairy farms: field observations and farmer perceptions

K.N. Tozer, C.A. Cameron and E.R. Thom

ABSTRACT

Above-ground botanical composition and seedling emergence from the soil seedbank were assessed in 30 Bay of Plenty dairy pastures in spring 2010. Pastures ranged in age ('young': 1-2 years, 'medium': 3-4 years, 'old': 5-6 years) and included those with and without forage herbs (chicory and/or plantain). As pastures aged, there was an increase in the percentage of total dry matter of unsown weed grasses (3%, 8%, 27%) and unsown herbaceous weeds (5%, 18%, 39%) in young, medium and old pastures sown with herbs, respectively. Unsown weed grasses dominated the seedbank and together with herbaceous weeds comprised more than 99% of seedlings that emerged from the seedbank. Farm managers ranked insect pests and climate (e.g. droughts/floods), as the primary factors causing the decline of sown species, while grazing management was perceived as the most important factor that can improve persistence of sown species.

Keywords: pasture persistence, weed seedbank, botanical composition.

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