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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 314939, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/314939
Research Article

A Comparison of Three Dry Matter Forage Production Methods Used in South Africa

Department of Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

Received 22 November 2013; Accepted 11 April 2014; Published 27 April 2014

Academic Editor: Daniel I. Rubenstein

Copyright © 2014 A. J. Joubert and W. J. Myburgh. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A common method for determining forage production of rangelands is by clipping and weighing forage from quadrats with predetermined areas. This technique is however time consuming. Other techniques which require less time and labour include amongst others using the disk pasture meter or phytomass derived from the vegetation classification program PHYTOTAB, in conjunction with the Plant Number Scale, which is used to determine vegetation canopy cover. The phytomass determined using PHYTOTAB/Plant Number Scale and the disk pasture meter was compared to the phytomass obtained from the actual clipping and weighing of forage. Tests showed that there were indeed statistically significant differences between the mean phytomass values of the three techniques. Considerable variation was shown in the results of the disk pasture meter readings compared to the other two techniques. The phytomass values obtained using the disk pasture meter were significantly higher than the phytomass determined using both the PHYTOTAB/Plant Number Scale and the clipping and weighing techniques. Results further indicated a significant similarity in the phytomass determined using the PHYTOTAB/Plant Number Scale and the clipping and weighing technique. The results of this pilot study need further investigation.