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Effects of heading date and Epichloë endophyte on persistence of diploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). 2. Endophyte strain and interactions with heading date

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Context: Data are lacking on the effects of selected endophytes of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) on ryegrass persistence.

Aim: We aimed to determine the impact of Epichloë endophyte on the persistence of mid- and late-heading perennial ryegrass cultivars.

Method: Two mid-heading (Samson, Bronsyn) and two late-heading (One50, Rohan) cultivars, infected with selected endophytes (AR37, nea2/6) or with standard toxic endophyte, were established in a replicated plot study grazed by cattle in a subtropical environment of the upper North Island of New Zealand. Persistence characteristics were quantified at least five times per annum, over 4 years.

Key results: Endophyte strain had an effect on persistence; infection with standard endophyte resulted in higher ryegrass ground cover percentage, ryegrass content in pasture dry matter and autumn yield than infection with nea2/6 on many occasions, and with AR37 on some occasions. There were negligible impacts on ryegrass tiller density or nutritive value. Trends were dominated by the main effect of endophyte; interactions with heading date were inconsistent.

Conclusions: Cultivars were more persistent when infected with standard endophyte than with selected endophytes, although persistence declined over 4 years for all cultivars and irrespective of heading date.

Implications: Reliance on selected endophyte is unlikely to prevent persistence decline of perennial ryegrass in a subtropical environment. Other strategies will be required to maintain the persistence of high-quality pastures based on perennial ryegrass.

Funding

AgResearch Strategic Science Investment Fund

History

Rights statement

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND)

Publication date

2024-06-25

Project number

  • Non revenue

Language

  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No

Publisher

CSIRO

Journal title

Crop & Pasture Science

ISSN

1836-5795

Volume/issue number

75

Page numbers

CP24101

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