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The dispersal of traditionally managed hay meadow plants via farmyard manure application

Edwards, A. R. and Younger, A. (2006) The dispersal of traditionally managed hay meadow plants via farmyard manure application. Seed Science Research, 16 (2). pp. 137-147. ISSN 0960-2585

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1079/ssr2006244

Abstract/Summary

The dispersal of plants within botanically rich grassland is an important area of study if such swards are to be maintained. The application of farmyard manure provides a possible mechanism by which seeds contained within hay can be returned/introduced to grasslands. In this study, hay, dung and manure samples taken from farms with botanically rich meadows contained very limited quantities of seeds of desirable species. Digestion by cattle, and storage within a manure heap for 6 months or longer, further reduced seed germination. Samples were characterized by an abundance of the grass, Poa trivialis, with few forbs present. Confirmation of the negative effect of the digestive processes of cattle on seed viability was achieved using an in vitro laboratory experiment. However, this experiment did show that the perennial herbs, Filipendula ulmaria and Sanguisorba officinalis, were able to survive digestion at least as well as P. trivialis. The burial of known quantities of seeds in a manure heap also showed these perennial herbs to be at least as resistant to damage as P. trivialis. The results demonstrate that, given appropriate timing of the hay cut, seeds of species with high conservation value could become incorporated into manure for subsequent dispersal. However, manure dispersal would appear to be of limited value for many species desirable from a conservation viewpoint.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8485
Uncontrolled Keywords:digestion, endozoochory, manure, meadow, seed dispersal, PARK GRASS EXPERIMENT, NORTHERN ENGLAND, MESOTROPHIC GRASSLAND, GRAZING, MANAGEMENT, SEED DISPERSAL, FIELD TRIAL, CATTLE, COMMUNITIES, VEGETATION, DIGESTION

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