Original Articles

Variations in floristic and palatability composition, yield of veld and of soil characteristics on a paddock scale

Published in: South African Journal of Plant and Soil
Volume 4, issue 4, 1987 , pages: 159–164
DOI: 10.1080/02571862.1987.10634966
Author(s): D.L. BarnesDepartment of Agriculture and Water Supply (Transvaal Region), Republic of South Africa, G.D. KotzéDepartment of Agriculture and Water Supply (Transvaal Region), Republic of South Africa, B.H. BeukesDepartment of Agriculture and Water Supply (Transvaal Region), Republic of South Africa, C. KohlmeyerDepartment of Agriculture and Water Supply (Transvaal Region), Republic of South Africa

Abstract

Five parallel 900-m line-transects were laid out 100 m apart in relatively homogeneous veld. Floristic composition, yields of dry matter, soil forms and series, effective depth, clay content of the top and subsoil, and the pH of the topsoil were determined along the transects. The floristic data were subjected to multivariate classification and ordination analyses, but no meaningful discontinuities were found. Patterns of spatial variation in palatability composition, yield and in the relevant soil characteristics were established. Taking yield and palatability composition as the primary determinants of grazing capacity, it seems from the present and previous studies that spatial variations in one or both of these parameters in local veld are commonly so great that accurate determination of patterns of distribution of grazing capacity within farms is an unrealistic objective. It is suggested that in farm planning only broad assessment of grazing capacity within relatively homogeneous veld should be aimed at. Such assessments could subsequently be refined by monitoring the condition of the veld and stock, and by the use of grazing records. There was clearly no relation between soil characteristics and floristic composition, but, to a degree, it seems that clay content of the subsoil and pH of the topsoil were negatively related to yields of grass and to a limited extent, to yields of grass plus forbs.

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