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      Yield of binary- and multi-species swards relative to single-species swards in intensive silage systems

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          Binary- and multi-species sown mixtures may increase herbage yield and/or reduce inorganic nitrogen (N) requirement compared to perennial ryegrass (PRG) (Lolium perenne L.) swards. A split-plot design was used to compare yields of binary- and multi-species mixtures to single-species swards of three grasses and red clover managed for intensive silage production under varying N application rates. Perennial and Italian (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) ryegrasses had greater annual yields when grown as single species receiving 360 kg N/ha per year than in binary mixtures with red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) receiving 0 kg N/ha per year, whereas timothy (Phleum pratense L.) produced equally high yields in both situations. When no inorganic N was applied, the annual dry matter yield of Mix 1 (10,738 kg/ha; PRG, timothy, red clover and white clover (Trifolium repens L.) and Mix 2 (11,679 kg/ha; PRG, timothy, red clover, ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) and chicory (Cichorium intybus L.)) was greater than that of a PRG sward (PRG/0N; 5,885 kg/ha) and derived more from the contribution of legumes than herbs. This yield advantage of mixtures declined as inorganic N input increased, as did the legume and herb proportions in the multi-species swards. When averaged across rates of inorganic N input, Mix 2 had a greater annual yield than Mix 1 (12,464 vs. 11,893 kg/ha). Mix 2 receiving no inorganic fertiliser N and both Mix 1 and Mix 2 receiving 120 kg N/ha per year matched the annual yield achieved by PRG receiving 360 kg N/ha per year. Our results indicate that the yield performance of binary- and multi-species grassland swards should be measured in situ rather than predicted from single-species swards of constituent species.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Transformation of the nitrogen cycle: recent trends, questions, and potential solutions.

          Humans continue to transform the global nitrogen cycle at a record pace, reflecting an increased combustion of fossil fuels, growing demand for nitrogen in agriculture and industry, and pervasive inefficiencies in its use. Much anthropogenic nitrogen is lost to air, water, and land to cause a cascade of environmental and human health problems. Simultaneously, food production in some parts of the world is nitrogen-deficient, highlighting inequities in the distribution of nitrogen-containing fertilizers. Optimizing the need for a key human resource while minimizing its negative consequences requires an integrated interdisciplinary approach and the development of strategies to decrease nitrogen-containing waste.
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            Evenness drives consistent diversity effects in intensive grassland systems across 28 European sites

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              Ecosystem function enhanced by combining four functional types of plant species in intensively managed grassland mixtures: a 3-year continental-scale field experiment


                Author and article information

                Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
                Compuscript (Ireland )
                05 March 2021
                : 59
                : 1
                : 12-26
                1Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland
                2School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
                3Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland
                Author notes
                †Corresponding author: Padraig O’Kiely. E-mail: padraig.okiely@ 123456teagasc.ie
                Copyright © 2020 Moloney, Sheridan, Grant, O’Riordan, and O’Kiely

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IE.

                Page count
                References: 51, Pages: 15
                Research Article


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                Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
                Volume 59, Issue 1

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