Invasive Species Compendium

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Using legume-grass commercial seed mixes to improve pasture of dehesa farms: production, persistence and diversity.


Pasture improvement using legume-grass commercial seed mixes is a common practice in dehesa farms to increase pasture productivity for livestock production. Normally, the introduction of these mixtures is carried out after previous tilling of the land and basal dressing, mainly with phosphorus. The persistence of the introduced species, and their effect on pasture diversity at plot scale, has not received much attention. This study aims to analyse the effectiveness of this approach to improve the productivity of the pasture and its effect on plant diversity. The study was carried out on two dehesa farms from the south of Spain devoted to beef cattle. Natural pasture and sown pasture with legume-grass commercial seed mixes sown in 2017 were sampled during spring of 2019 to assess: (1) persistence of introduced species, (2) biomass production and (3) plant diversity. Sown pasture showed more herbage yield than natural pasture at least two years following the sowing. Most of the introduced species were present after two years of seeding but their abundance was low. The sowing of pasture had little effect on native plant diversity.