The potential of New Zealand grazing systems is dependant on the dry matter (DM) yield, nutritive characteristics, and utilisation of pasture. The most common pasture is a mixture of ryegrass and white clover, which is tolerant of a wide range of environments and management (Kemp et al. 1999). However species such as these with shallow root systems and poor growth in high temperatures will have reduced herbage accumulation and quality during dry summer periods (Hoglund & White 1985). As demand for irrigation has increased to alleviate these problems, it has also raised questions about water allocation impacts on dairy farm production and profit (Thorrold et al. 2004). For Canterbury, which experiences hot, dry summers, lucerne is a potential source of high quality feed due to its active warm season growth and greater water use efficiency (Mills & Moot 2010).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 73, Hamilton, 93-95, 2013
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