Performance of four persistent forage legumes with Brachiaria mutica in Belize under regular grazing using observational techniques and clipping
AbstractIn a continuation of an earlier trial on an alluvial soil under 1800 mm rainfall in Belize, mixed swards of Brachiaria mutica and 'Siratro', a native line of Macroptilium atropurpureum (CF 3-2), 'Centro', and a native line of Centrosema pubescens (CF 6-1) were grazed at six-weekly intervals for 18 months. Pre- and post-grazing observations were taken and statistically analysed. The legumes and grass persisted under grazing though the plot covers became lower and more uniform with time. The general rankings of the legume plot covers over the trial period were, in decreasing order: CF 3-2, CF 6-1, 'Siratro' and 'Centro'. Clipped samples at the end of the trial supported these rankings. Leaf loss in 'Siratro' due to Rhizoctonia infection was higher than for CF 3-2. More of the M. atropurpureum lines were grazed in the early rainy season and more of the C. pubescens lines in November. The legumes were grazed similarly otherwise, and less was grazed toward the end of the trial. Dry matter yields from the end of the trial when compared to the earlier clipped trial were similar for the native lines, slightly more for 'Siratro', and much less for 'Centro'. Grass heights peaked in September and again at the beginning of the rains in June. Less grass was grazed toward the end of the trial as it became increasingly fibrous.