Barley grass (Hordeum spp.) is a relatively short lived annual that provides high quality grazing early in the season, but its seed heads cause contamination of wool and carcasses, and may irritate the mouth, eyes and nose of sheep. Treatments were imposed on established subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) annual pasture in the same plots for three consecutive years (2015 to 2017) to evaluate changes in barley grass content. Treatments included: grazing alone (G), herbicide followed by grazing (HG), or a forage conservation harvest in early October, late October or early November consistent with an early silage harvest (ES), late silage harvest (LS) or hay cut (H). Grazing plus herbicide markedly reduced (P < 0.05) barley grass numbers compared with all other treatments, but increased (P < 0.05) the growth of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum L.). ES reduced (P < 0.05) barley grass and increased (P < 0.05) subterranean clover compared with H, but broadleaf weed content benefitted by LS in contrast to either ES or H. Although herbicide application was the most effective method for barley grass control, forage harvest timing could be used to beneficially manipulate pasture composition.
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Vol. 70 • No. 9