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Herbage accumulation and relative contribution of leaf categories to canopy photosynthesis of grazed Mulato II brachiariagrass under contrasting growth rates and canopy heights

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Junior Issamu Yasuoka
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Carlos Guilherme Silveira Pedreira; Gustavo José Braga; Patricia Menezes Santos
Advisor: Carlos Guilherme Silveira Pedreira

Grazing intensity and nitrogen fertilization can impact the structural characteristics of the canopy affecting the light environment within the vegetation, which in turn may affect leaf and canopy photosynthetic rates, and also forage production. The objective of this study was to describe and explain the effects of canopy height kept constant and growth rate applied as N rate of Mulato II brachiariagrass (Brachiaria brizantha × B. decumbens × B. ruziziensis) under continuous stocking and variable stocking rate, on the productive and morpho-physiological characteristics, and the relative contribution of different leaf categories to the leaf area index (LAI) and to canopy photosynthesis. A field trial was conducted at ESALQ/USP in Piracicaba, SP, Brazil, during two summer growing seasons. A randomized complete block design was used, with a factorial arrangement combining three canopy heights (10, 25, and 40 cm) and two growth rates imposed by N rates (50 and 250 kg ha-1 yr-1), with three replications. The variables studied included: total annual forage accumulation (TFA), LAI, light interception (LI), leaf and canopy photosynthetic rates, and the relative contribution of different leaf categories to the LAI and to canopy photosynthesis. There was a linear increase in TFA with increased canopy height (from 8560 to 13600 kg DM ha-1 yr-1). The LAI, LI, canopy photosynthesis rates, the relative contribution of mature leaves (MAT) to the LAI, and relative contribution of the youngest fully-expanded leaves (YFE) to canopy photosynthesis also increased with canopy height. The relative contribution of expanding leaves (EXP) and YFE to the LAI, leaf photosynthesis of EXP and MAD leaves, and relative contribution of EXP leaves to canopy photosynthesis increased with the reduction in canopy height. The use of a greater N rate (250 kg N ha-1 yr-1) increased ATF by 137%. The application of more N (250 kg N ha-1 yr-1) also increased LAI, LI, photosynthetic rates of all leaf categories, canopy photosynthesis, and relative contribution of YFE leaves to canopy photosynthesis, but the relative contribution of EXP leaves to canopy photosynthesis was greater in the lesser N rate (50 kg N ha-1 yr-1). The relative contribution of MAT leaves to canopy photosynthesis was greater in taller canopies, and also in canopies maintained at 10 cm fertilized with 250 kg N ha-1 yr-1. The canopies maintained at 25 cm showed greater proportion of MAD leaves in the lesser N rate, and was similar in 40-cm canopies for both N rates. Although canopies kept at 10 cm showed greater relative proportion of younger leaves (EXP and YFE), which are those with greater photosynthetic rates, canopy photosynthesis and the TFA were greater in taller canopies. The application of 250 kg N ha-1 yr-1 results in increased canopy photosynthesis, due to increased LAI and leaf photosynthetic rate, resulting in increased TFA. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 14/16717-4 - Carbon assimilation and herbage accumulation of mulato II brachiariagrass under contrasting growth rates and sward heights maintained by continuous stocking
Grantee:Júnior Issamu Yasuoka
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master