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Impacts of spring and summer droughts on yield and forage quality of three grasslands

Type of publication Not peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Other publication (non peer-review)
Author Meisser Marco, Deléglise Claire, Signarbieux Constant, Vitra Amarante, Mosimann Eric, Buttler Alexandre,
Project Interactive effects of altitude and management on resistance and resilience of permanent grasslands to drought: combining agronomic, functional and ecophysiological approaches (GrassAlt)
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Other publication (non peer-review)

Book Impacts of spring and summer droughts on yield and forage quality of three grasslands
Publisher 26th EGF General Meeting on “The Multiple Roles of Grassland in the European Bioeconomy” Grassland S, volume 21 900 pages: 792-795


An experiment was carried out on three semi-natural grasslands, characterized by contrasted climatic conditions, in order to explore the responses of herbage production and quality to drought. Drought was simulated under rain shelters, either in spring or in summer. Two factors were tested: intensity of use (intensive vs extensive) and watering regime (control vs drought). Drought reduced the dry matter production on average across sites and intensity of use by 12% during spring and by 52% in summer, without significant changes of the botanical composition. Regarding the forage quality, drought resulted in a slight decrease of crude protein content, but this response was uneven. Acid detergent fiber generally decreased, whereas water soluble carbohydrates increased. The concentrations of phosphorus were systematically lowered by water shortage. The interactive effects of drought and intensity of use were small. Although there was no consistent trend, drought impacted forage quality, but less than yield. Keywords: rain shelter, permanent meadows, elevation gradient, nutrient content